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Are the Lights Going out at Stormont?

Commentators and journalists have been poring over the utterances and musings of our local politicians. As they try to get a handle on what the next steps are for the House on the Hill following the referendum vote in Scotland and the ongoing welfare reform, many of us are wondering what it will take for our politicians to get their act together, make the hard calls required and ultimately keep NI PLC on the rails.

Unfortunately, it appears that matters are spiraling out of control, with health care cuts, welfare reform, departmental malfunctions, ministerial changes and misleading letters, not to mention the very real and pressing issue of the short supply of monies for every department in the Executive.

Running a country is very much like running a business, and on this comparison I think it’s fair to say that Stormont is currently in administration. Its Managing Director has stated in the past two weeks that the company is not fit for purpose, so if that’s the case then the P45’s are likely in the post and lights are about to go out.  Certainly the odds at this point appear to be stacked against it surviving in its current form.

I feel the business is savable. At the very least all efforts should be made to do so; however, for that to happen there does need to be an agreement on the business plan and also a will to want to save it by all of those involved.  I am not sure that the board members of NI PLC even want to do this at this point, given the lack of progress over recent months.  This is a very depressing thought for all of us and the majority of us who do want to build on the peace established and put the building blocks in place for the country to prosper.

For any SME or larger businesses out there, most would agree that the business environment in NI is extremely challenging.  As our banks continue to try and get their own businesses in order after the property crash, the business terrain is extremely rocky.  The unsettled nature of Stormont and the fact that we have another six years of austerity ahead is a sobering thought for even the most optimistic of entrepreneurs.

Over the last few years our own company, GDP Partnership, has been able to help hundreds of businesses and individuals get back on track by dealing with many of the challenges, mostly financial, that they have had to face in recent times.  Ultimately, there are three ingredients to getting a business back on the rails;

  1. Diagnosis of the problem(s)
  2. Strategy to deal with same
  3. Execution of achievable business plan

If our MD Mr Robinson, who is regarded by many as one of the country's most astute strategists and business heads, took on board the above and, more importantly, got his board to buy into it with him, then NI PLC would have a real opportunity to get back on track.  However, the signs are not good. 

For everyone living and working here, we can only live in hope that the current challenges can be overcome.  I think it's fair to say we have overcome a lot more difficult challenges in the last twenty years, so let's hope those in control dig deep, get it sorted out, and allow all of us to continue to make progress.

Conor DevineComment