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Business leader laments infrastructure blockage after Stormont collapse

Words: Huw Morris

The collapse of Stormont has stalled around £2 billion of infrastructure projects in Northern Ireland, according to a business leader.

Stormont collapsed in January 2017 when the late Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness resigned amid the controversy surrounding the renewable heat incentive scandal and equality issues.

Institute of Directors Northern Ireland chairman Gordon Milligan said the stalled projects were either waiting approval or planning permission. They include the North-South interconnector, Casement Park, the Belfast Transport Hub and a new power station in Belfast Harbour.

“Just think of the impact that can have, the positive impact that could have on the economy, whether it's job creation, construction jobs or legacy jobs,” he told BBC Radio Ulster’s Inside Business.

“We’re missing ministers taking those decisions and that is holding the economy back, there's no doubt about that. It's holding back growth in the economy, it's holding job creation back.

“I think increasingly we are missing ministers to take those key decisions.”

Earlier this year, Northern Ireland secretary Karen Bradley introduced the Northern Ireland Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions Act to allow civil servants to take decisions during the impasse. Milligan said that permanent secretaries and civil servants “have been doing an incredible job” in the absence of an assembly.

Read more:

Scale of NI decision backlog revealed

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