SDLP Opposition Day To Focus On All-Island Policy Priorities

The SDLP has said that it will use today's Opposition Day in the Assembly to focus on making overdue progress on key all-island policy priorities, including benefitting from dual market access, expanding cross-border tourism brands and cross-border healthcare.

The party's first motion calls for the Economy Minister to establish a specific strategy to benefit from dual market access under the Protocol, including working with the Irish Government to establish a joint working group between Invest NI and the Republic's IDA, organisations which have historically worked largely in competition with one another.
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The Opposition will also table motions to seek support for greater cross-border healthcare cooperation in order to tackle the waiting list crisis, as well as the extension of highly successful tourism brands the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland's Ancient East into the North – and also agreeing a clear Executive position in opposition to the UK Government's hugely damaging Electronic Travel Authorisation scheme, which poses a fundamental risk to our tourism industry.

Matthew O'Toole MLA said: "Since we entered Opposition in February, the SDLP has sought not just to robustly hold the Executive to account but also to constructively put vital issues on the Assembly agenda. So we are using our final Opposition Day before summer recess to get support for a series of ambitious cross-border initiatives, from a joint IDA-Invest NI strategy to maximise the investment potential of our dual market access to delivering a step change in our approach to both cross-border healthcare and expanding all-island tourism.

"Certain ministers have talked a good game on making the most of cross-border opportunities, but tomorrow is about securing specific commitments and actions. An aspiration to secure dual market benefits is one thing, but our motion obliges the Minister to produce a specific strategy and work with the Irish Government to that end. And the same goes for both cross-border healthcare and all-Ireland tourism.

"If ministers are serious about all-island benefits, they need to get specific and get serious."

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