Deputy FM says G8 showed NI is 'open for business'

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The deputy first minister said "the world has seen at first hand how open we are for business" at the G8 meeting in Fermanagh, on 1 July 2013.

Speaking during Question Time, Martin McGuinness said there had been a real opportunity to tell the international community "how things here have changed".

The minister said he and First Minister Peter Robinson had spoken to President Obama about the forthcoming economic conference in Belfast and had received "a very good reception".

Asked by Sinn Fein's Phil Flanagan about the impact on local businesses, Mr McGuinness welcomed the US-EU trade pact, adding that the US was "our second biggest export market" after southern Ireland.

Kieran McCarthy of Alliance asked if it was coincidental that the US had decided to open talks with the Taliban after the president's trip to Northern Ireland.

The minister said that anything that was done to reduce conflict was to be welcomed.

"From my perspective its a positive development," he said.

Bronwyn McGahan of Sinn Fein asked about a report being prepared by a senior official who was examining Magdalene laundry-type institutions.

Junior Minister Jennifer McCann said they had received the report the previous week and would consider the advice and options.

Ms McGahan asked about possible compensation for former inmates of the laundries.

The junior minister said it would be "a bit premature" to discuss compensation.

She said they were "very mindful of the callous treatment" meted out in the laundries.

Ms McGahan said she and Junior Minister Jonathan Bell had met survivors and "there were horrendous stories we were told".

Finance Minister Sammy Wilson was asked whether he thought the law on defamation needed to be reviewed.

The minister said he thought it would be prudent to see how the recent far-reaching changes to the law in England and Wales "worked through" before deciding how to progress the issue in Northern Ireland.

He said there was "no question of suppressing freedom of speech".

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