SDLP Chairman of the Assembly Enterprise, Trade and Investment Committee, Patsy McGlone, has said that the economic impact of flag-related violence on the North is affecting our standing on a global scale.
The Mid Ulster MLA said: “We are already getting the first indications of how local businesses, particularly small businesses, are suffering from the outbursts seen on our streets.
“I expect to hear more about this when the Belfast Chamber of Commerce appears before the ETI Committee this week and I do not expect the tale they tell to be pleasant.
“But, added to this, we are also seeing the international impact of these mindless thugs’ actions, with foreign inward investors taking the first flight home after seeing the destruction being wrought and the images of riots and intimidation being beamed around the world.
“This is a time when Northern Ireland should be a beacon of enterprise, harnessing not only our local business acumen but also capitalising on events like the City of Culture and The Gathering.
“But, through the actions of a vicious minority, we are risking the North becoming an international economic pariah.
“This is no way to address deprivation and the effects of the recession. The protests and violence must stop and stop now – for the good of every citizen.”