In the lead-up to the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement and the arrival of President Joe Biden, the Secretary of State, Chris Heaton- Harris MP, met with Patricia O’Hagan and Tommy Maguire of Core Systems and other Federation of Small Businesses members to discuss future opportunities for small businesses in Northern Ireland. The main focus of the meeting was the implementation of the Windsor Framework and the stalled political process at Stormont.
The Secretary of State engaged in an open discussion and was updated on any concerns Patricia O’Hagan, CEO of Core Systems and others, raised and sought clarification of the implications of the Windsor framework.
“This a positive start to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement. At the same time, there was a marking of the past and the beginning of future engagement with the Secretary of State and his colleagues to create the right environment for growth and success for small businesses in Northern Ireland.”Patricia O’Hagan, CEO of Core Systems, 2023
“Our meeting with the Secretary of State let us explore the implementation and potential operationalisation of the Windsor Framework, which we want to succeed so that it provides certainty for businesses. To ensure that happens, businesses need to understand how it will actually be applied, as officials continue to work through the detail of transforming political agreement into operational requirements. Getting that balance right will be crucial.”Alan Lowry, FSB’s Policy Chair, 2023
The FSB emphasised the need to guard against the ‘gold-plating’ of regulations whereby over-zealous interpretation and application of a political agreement can cause new problems for businesses keen to get on with doing business within the UK internal market and the EU single market.
Members from the FSB ensured to reiterate that these issues resulted from stalled political progress hindering future progress. Members also clarified the importance of renewing international goodwill for investor engagement and utilising every opportunity.
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