16 August 2007 Edition
One hundred days of North's Executive
“The first 100 days of the Executive have demonstrated the importance of having decision making in the hands of locally elected politicians.
“No-one would argue that without Michelle Gildernew in charge that we would have moved so quickly on that Friday night to respond to the threat of Foot and Mouth Disease; or react with such cohesion to the flooding that has devastated so many homes.
“Would British direct rule Minster’s at home in England or Wales have reacted as swiftly to protect our farming industry? Or do people believe that direct rule Ministers would have reacted as quickly as Peter Robinson and Conor Murphy to the flooding?
“In addressing key issues such as Water Charges and the housing crisis the Executive has shown that there must a new approach.
“It is not just that each and every Minster has been able to take decisions they have also been open to proper scrutiny.
“There are still many many big decisions ahead of us but there is now a new sense of political stability. In the coming weeks we will begin in earnest to set out our own priorities as we set about the task of developing our first programme for government and budget.
“No-one expected that we would get to day one, let alone see the first 100 days arrive so quickly. But now we face greater tests. The test is to make a difference to the lives of everyone who lives in this part of Ireland, to reach out and deepen the peace process and political institutions across and beyond this island.”