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Statement by Danny Kennedy (UUP), on the 'Comprehensive Study on the All-Island Economy', Belfast, (26 October 2006)

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Text: Danny Kennedy... Page compiled: Martin Melaugh

Statement by Danny Kennedy, then Assembly Group Deputy Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), on the 'Comprehensive Study on the All-Island Economy', Belfast, (26 October 2006)


"This document looks like it was written by a Sinn Fein policy officer and passed under the nose of an Irish Department of Foreign Affairs civil servant.

The UUP is all in favour of mutual economic co-operation and trade between the two states. However this document is a different proposition entirely. It seeks to create a Northern Ireland that is a region or an economic colony of the Republic as opposed to a Northern Ireland that is a trading partner with the Republic but which forms part of the United Kingdom’s economic bloc. As such, while some of the infrastructure proposals have merit, we would reject the proposal as a whole as it runs against the very ideal of a vibrant, confident Northern Ireland within the Union.

The language in this document is atrocious. One suspects it may well have been fashioned in this way to try and put the frighteners on people as to what plan B could look like in the absence of a power sharing deal on November 24th.

Among the proposed ‘areas for collaboration’ is an improved regulatory environment (including fiscal measures). This is shorthand for enshrining in law many of these proposals. In addition the document proposes the harmonisation on trade missions of Invest Northern Ireland with its Irish counterpart. This means that Northern Ireland cannot make its own case without considering the all-island dimension.

The Secretary of State said today of the proposals: ‘I look forward to further development and implementation of the goals and actions contained in the Study both in the weeks to come and as part of the agenda of the restored institutions.’ There you have it. This study clearly forms part of the agenda following the St. Andrews Agreement.

In 1998 the UUP faced down many of these ‘nationalist’ proposals. Now, by tinkering around the edges of the Agreement the DUP have opened up a pandora’s box and allowed the nationalist genie out of the bottle again.

It is imperative that we work quickly towards the re-establishment of the Assembly and Executive where Ulster Unionist Ministers would be rigorously vetoing proposals like this."


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