It seems DUP leader Peter Robinson is now fully aware of the chill economic winds blowing through Northern Ireland and like any decent politician worth his salt, has embarked on a policy of blaming someone else for the upcoming woes. While others blame, for example, the banks, Robinson preferred instead to focus on Sinn Féin when addressing a business dinner in East Belfast.
According to Robinson:
These are critical months for Northern Ireland not just in relation to building for our long term economic wellbeing but also in dealing with the present economic difficulties. The refusal of Sinn Fein to agree to an Executive meeting since last June has not only damaged the credibility of devolution in the eyes of the public but it is also damaging to the credibility of Northern Ireland in the wider world.
At a time when Governments around the world are acting to deal with the financial crisis our Executive is not even meeting. The role of the Executive in dealing with global problems is limited but the very least that people expect is that their politicians seek to deal with their problems. Again let me make it plain. I want the Executive to meet. I want it to meet immediately and I am placing no conditions on it meeting. Sinn Fein alone is blocking the process.
International investors will not wait around forever and in an ever increasingly competitive market we can simply not afford the present Sinn Fein obstruction of the Executive. Nor can we delay getting to grips with the necessary reforms that Northern Ireland needs in order to move ahead.
In contrast, last March Secretary for State for Northern Ireland Shaun Woodward also expressed his concerns about international investors being scared off by the continuing logjam in Northern Ireland but he seemed to be blaming the lack of a completion of devolution, namely policing and justice powers, as the main cause:
But no-one should be under any illusion that the completion of devolution is crucial for the long term stability and prosperity of Northern Ireland. When it happens, it will send out a clear signal around the world that Northern Ireland is a sound investment for the future.
But rather than do the simple thing and hold a line similar to Woodward in the ongoing impasse with the DUP, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has returned to familiar ground, preferring instead to accuse unionists of simply not wanting to share power with Catholics:
It is obvious that there are elements with the DUP who do not agree with power sharing and partnership as a political model or a practical politics. In addition, there are clearly elements of the DUP who really don’t want to have a Catholic about the place. They are opposed to power sharing in any form. And some of them clearly believe that by stalling and delaying they can hollow out the Good Friday and St Andrews Agreements. As a result of this opposition the DUP has been retreating from its obligations under the St Andrews Agreement.
Meanwhile, the Dow Jones dropped 700 points in the first few minutes of trade before recovering as the rollercoaster ride continues on the stock markets, while the ISEQ is probably languishing at a level lower than it was when the Good Friday Agreement was signed over a decade ago.