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Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Economy – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:00 pm on 24th January 2017.

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Photo of Simon Hamilton Simon Hamilton DUP 3:00 pm, 24th January 2017

Well done to the Member on reading out his election material for the next month. I will not descend to the Member's level, although I take the point around having a Government. That is critically important.

Never mind 2021 and Northern Ireland's centenary, as important as that is. If Northern Ireland is to move forward, it needs a strong and stable Government here at Stormont. We find ourselves in difficult circumstances, but I know in my job, perhaps better than most Ministers, the importance of having an Administration here at Stormont to attract investment, and, as the Member highlights, to attract tourists to come here, who also want to see stability.

I hope that we can get through our present difficulties and form a Government not too far on the other side of the election of 2 March and that we continue to build on the progress. Substantial progress has been made over the past 10 years. Whether the Member and his party like it or not, huge progress has been made. Northern Ireland is an infinitely better place today than it was 10, 20 and 30 years ago. We need to continue to build on that progress and keep Northern Ireland moving in the right direction.