Published Monday, 10 September 2012
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The Northern Ireland Assembly was hailed after surviving its first full four-year term as a sign of enduring peace in the region.
But with the community hoping to leave the shadows of the Troubles well and truly behind, questions have been asked about local government's ability to now deal with the bread-and-butter issues.
"We don't want the enduring legacy of devolution to be delivering the peace," panellist Professor Deirdre Heenan of the University of Ulster said.
"Of course delivering the peace is important, but now we want delivery on key issues - education, health and the economy."
Focusing on the economy, Nigel Smyth of the CBI said times are already hard and could get harder.
"One really big issue out there is the debate on corporation tax. That would give a significant life to confidence if we could get an early decision on that," he said.
"The Executive has bought into that, there's negotiation with the UK government and we need to bring that to a swift conclusion."
Turning to health and Deirdre said that doing nothing simply wasn't an option if safe services were to be protected for the future.
"The roadmap is there, but we need to see action. It's not just the minister though," she said.
"MLAs have a duty to buy into the Compton Report and take a long-term strategic view on health. It's very easy to say: 'Not in my back garden - no changes for me, thank you very much' and pander to a local electorate or your own constituency.
"It's very important that we have strong political leadership because the whole body of evidence says the system, as it is, is not fit for purpose."
And on the subject of education, former school principal John Stevenson said that the credibility of the political institutions will depend on how the Educational Skills Authority is delivered.
"The First and deputy First Ministers and the Minister for Education have set their cap out, that they'll put a bill before the Assembly in this term," he said.
"This has been a long time coming - since 2006 - and it's been stalled on several occasions."
All in all, it seems that the message from the panellists is that politics in Northern Ireland has come a long way - but now it's time to get back to basics and down to some hard work.
You can leave a comment to have your say on whether or not you agree with our panellists.