Other News In Brief

SDLP Appoint Daniel McCrossan As Brexit Spokesperson

The SDLP has appointed west Tyrone MLA Daniel McCrossan as its new Brexit Spokesperson.

It follows the resignation of Claire Hanna MLA from the assembly group, due to the party's link up with Fianna Fáil.

Party leader Colum Eastwood commented: "As an MLA of a border constituency, Daniel is acutely aware of the challenges facing the North at this critical time as we draw ever closer to March 29.

"The SDLP have been consistently clear that any deal must include a Backstop to ensure the rights of people here are protected."

Mr McCrossan added: "Brexit has brought an unprecedented challenge to our doorstep. I look forward to articulating the needs and wishes of the majority of voters here who did not consent to this."

Zara To Reopen Belfast Store

Fashion retailer Zara has announced its intentions to reopen in Belfast.

The store on Donegall Place closed its doors last August following the Bank Buildings fire that destroyed Primark and suspended trading at 14 local businesses due to concerns about the safety of the structure.

A number of those have reopened in recent weeks due to a new tunnel which acts as a walkway and links Royal Avenue to Donegall Place.
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Zara has remained closed however, due to its proximity to the Bank Buildings, but has confirmed it will reopen "as soon as possible", despite being unable to confirm a date.

Stormont Deadlock And Brexit Chaos Damaging Renewable Energy Strategy

An SDLP spokesperson has said Northern Ireland's renewable energy strategy is being sacrificed by the "twin evils" of Brexit and the absence of an assembly.

John Dallat MLA said the issues are stifling the interest of investors in the sector, as the region is without a Minister to pass legislation.

"This is further complicated by the fact that after Brexit we may not be able to participate in European markets and in a no-deal scenario energy costs could rise significantly," the east L'Derry representative said.

"Further doubts now hang over the cross-border inter-connector- not just in getting it up and running- but how electricity will be bought and sold in a new situation where we are outside the EU.

"We need to reach new targets of 70% for renewable energy by 2030. However, our legislation is 30 years old and is in urgent need of updating to take account of new developments in how electricity is generated, bought and sold and that is not happening while we cope with Brexit and all its uncertainties coupled with the disgraceful suspension of the assembly."


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