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Governments urged to speed up all Ireland economic co-operation

2 June, 2006

Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA commenting on the joint statement from British direct rule ETI Minister Maria Eagle and Irish Minister for Enterprise Michéal Martin has welcomed ongoing work to enhance and deepen economic co-operation across Ireland and urged the British and Irish governments to speed up the process.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"The argument about strengthening the all-Ireland approach across a range of areas including economy, health, the environment, transport and infrastructure has already been won. The six counties is not a viable political or economic entity. Even Peter Hain recognises this.

"The real threats to economic wellbeing are partition and Direct Rule. This is recognised by the business, manufacturing and industrial sectors. Failure to grasp opportunities created by the Agreement has implications for the economy, infrastructure and public services not just in the six counties but also across the northwest.

"This review needs to build on what is already in place, for example in the single energy market and tourism. It also needs to address issues such as workforce mobility and taxation and the creation of a single economic development agency.

"We have already put forward arguments in relation to the harmonisation of corporation tax across the island, and also on issues such as harmonisation of currency and the creation of a Eurozone in the Six Counties.

"On the ground business people are leading the way in all-Ireland working and the two governments that are playing catch up.  The British and Irish government need to speed up the process and set deliverable targets that show the benefits of the all-Ireland approach." ENDS

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