BELFAST, Feb 27 (Reuters) – Northern Irish business groups welcomed the certainty a new EU-UK deal on post-Brexit trade rules for the region provided for impacted businesses and urged politicians to do likewise and restore the local power-sharing government.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Monday that he succeeded in removing “any sense of a border” between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom – a situation that had angered pro-British politicians and caused disruption to some businesses.
“Reaching an agreement is an important step in securing the stability and certainty businesses have been seeking,” said the Northern Ireland Business Brexit Working Group, a group representing all the main industries in Northern Ireland.
“It is our shared aspiration that the agreement will deliver a unique platform that unlocks economic growth and investment, but we will need time and space to work through the technical detail with our members.”
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The group includes representatives for retailers, farmers, manufacturers and hauliers.
Some of those members, including the Logistics UK, Retail NI, Maufacturing NI and the Federation of Small Businesses Northern Ireland groups, issued separate statements welcoming the agreement.
The reaction among pro-British politicians was cooler. The leader of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) said his party was now studying the legal texts but that key issues of concern remain.
The DUP has boycotted Northern Ireland’s regional assembly for the last year in protest at the post-Brexit checks between Britain and Northern Ireland.
“Above all, we are hopeful that this deal now paves the way for the full and speedy return of the Executive and Assembly,” Londonderry Chamber President Selina Horshi said in a statement.
“Local political decision-making has been stalled for long enough.”
Reporting by Amanda Ferguson, writing by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Angus MacSwan
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