Financial Secretary to the Treasury Mark Hoban came to Belfast for the first time in his ministerial role to attend the meeting. Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Owen Paterson MP chaired it. First Minister Peter Robinson, deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, NI Minister for Enterprise Trade and Investment Arlene Foster and Minister of State for Northern Ireland Hugo Swire also took part.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Paterson said:
“My colleagues on the Ministerial Working Group and I are encouraged by the progress which has been made in the fortnight since we last met. We remain committed to finding a fair and just resolution quickly and to that end I’m confident that we have taken a significant step forward today.
“Work has been going on intensively in the several months since the election and the momentum is increasing further.
“We are all conscious of the need to identify a way forward in the context of the Spending Review next month. We know that PMS members are keen to know more about the options we have been working on, and we hope to be able to offer more insight in the near future. We will meet again in two weeks.”
Of course, they were also “fully aware of the urgency of this matter” when they met in July…