An Alliance candidate for Westminster has said that comments by CBI Chairman David Dobbin and SDLP finance spokesman Séan Farren prove that the Alliance Party is the only true voice of small business in Northern Ireland.
Speaking in his Upper Bann constituency, Alan Castle, stated: “I welcome David Dobbin’s comments. They echo those put forward consistently by the Alliance Party in recent election campaigns.
“Economic development is essential to creating a genuinely prosperous and stable society in Northern Ireland. The over-reliance on government expenditure he talks of has led to a culture of dependency in Northern Ireland which is good for no one.
“The Republic of Ireland has shown that small, geographically peripheral regions can succeed economically, provided entrepreneurship is placed at the heart of government policy. This means a better-trained workforce, a lower bureaucratic burden, and tax breaks to growing industries.
“We have also consistently agreed with the CBI that transport infrastructure is in need of rapid improvement, and planning legislation requires fundamental reform.
“I personally have established a successful business in Northern Ireland from scratch, but I know how difficult it can be. Until we elect politicians who will move us away from funding segregation, and instead focus on integration of society with economic development as its cornerstone, there will be more failures than successes.”
Mr Castle, who is also standing for local government in Craigavon Central, also challenged the simplistic solutions offered by other parties: “Dr Farren’s latest remarks on behalf of the SDLP are yet another example of sectarian simplicity. A parochial all-island economy might sound good in theory and might suit his party’s agenda, but it is narrow-minded.
“What we need is a genuinely outward-looking economy forming the bridge between Ireland and Great Britain and between North America and continental Europe, turning our geographical and social circumstances into an advantage rather than adisadvantage.
“Only Alliance offers real solutions. Only Alliance stands for progress. Only Alliance really means business.”