“our economy appeared to be performing well..”

Whilst Taoiseach Brian Cowen tries to balance the [Irish] books the Northern Ireland Assembly has been debating the Programme for Government and Budget. Below the fold the NI deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, reads out the brief provided to him on the economy [to a yawning Paul Maskey and few others – Ed] and claims that the NI government polit-bureau is “far from powerless”. Also below, NI Enterprise Minister, the DUP’s Arlene Foster, defends a trade mission to the Netherlands amidst concerns about the NI economy from the head of Invest NI. But firstly, here’s the NI Minister for Employment and Learning, the UUP’s Reg Empey, on, among other things, the different problems faced by the UK and Ireland economies.

The NI deputy First Minister reads out a briefing paper on the economy and what the NI government administration can do about it.

And the NI Enterprise Minister on the trade mission, the importance of optimism, and criticism from Sinn Féin.