Fianna Fáil’s Business Spokesperson, Billy Kelleher has said that the key All Ireland trade body InterTradeIreland is another victim of the failure of the DUP and Sinn Féin to restore any sort of productive politics in Northern Ireland.

Deputy Kelleher was commenting after receiving a PQ reply from the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Trade confirming that since October 2017, there has been no full time CEO in place.

“The Minister informed me that a new CEO cannot be appointed as it requires a decision of the North South Ministerial Council which in turn cannot take place due to the absence of the Northern Ireland Executive.

“With the uncertainty of Brexit, this should have been the time when InterTradeIreland really should have come into its own and taken a lead role in Brexit preparations, but unfortunately businesses on either side of the border are missing out because of political failure.

“While an interim Designated Officer has been in place since October 2017, the full potential of InterTradeIreland is not being utilised.

“Our business community needs all the tools available to it to be in full working order as we navigate the challenges ahead. This body is ideally placed to play a positive role and we need it to be working at full capacity. With a hard Brexit now more likely than not, it has never been as important to have a cross-border agency working with business and enterprise to insulate and diversify the local economy.

“Sinn Féin and the DUP need to look beyond their support base, to the wider community and the employers within it and get serious about restoration of the institutions,” concluded Kelleher.