The Minister for Finance, Brian Cowen, urges all-Ireland economic strategy
Speaking to at an economic conference in Templepatrick, Co. Antrim on the theme on cross border economic co-operation, the Minister said he hoped conditions will soon exist when the Northern executive and Assembly will be fully restored, in turn leading to resumption of the work of the North/South Ministerial Council.
"When the Council resumes its work, it is clear that its agenda will be a full one, including the taking forward of all-island economic co-operation," he said.
The Minister did note that some of the underlying macro features of the Northern Ireland economy were troubling, notwithstanding the success of certain sectors of the economy.
"The Secretary of State himself, Peter Hain, pointed out in a recent speech that public spending in Northern Ireland accounts for over 60% of GDP and that is, per head, nearly a third higher than the UK average and far higher than equivalent advanced economies across the world.
"For the record, the equivalent figure in the South is almost 34%. That statistic alone, I feel, underlines the scale of the challenge facing Northern politicians when they return to Stormont over the next while," the Minister said.
We need a Northern Irish Thatcher...