Time to end political soap opera

An Alliance Party delegation, including South Belfast representatives, Tom Ekin, previous Belfast Lord Mayor, and Allan Leonard, Alliance General Secretary, met with British and Irish Government officials today, in a renewed initiative to restore a working Northern Ireland Assembly.

Belfast City Councillor, Tom Ekin, said: “People now see the political process as little more than a bad soap opera. It is up to us to address that.

“For real progress to be made, political leaders must be prepared to stop shirking responsibility on key issues. Republicans must address the outstanding issues identified in the IMC report, and Unionists must recognize the reality of ongoing and developing north-south cooperation.

“The Governments must put an end to any hint of a process based on side deals. Anything else is a recipe for constant instability.

South Belfast Alliance representative, Allan Leonard, added: “An inclusive process in itself will not be enough. The outcome must be a political settlement which is based on our common interest, and on power-sharing rather than power-dividing.

“Specifically, we recognize that work towards genuine reconciliation and integration is meaningless unless we address our severe economic deficiencies. The Government has set us an economic challenge to redress the employment balance between private and public sector. We need to be creating wealth, not creating dependency. Therefore, Alliance is calling for an all-party roundtable to develop an economic package that will genuinely address these deficiences.

“The lack of real progress, ever since the Good Friday Agreement, indicates that the sectarian political system, no matter who heads it, cannot deliver the political and economic results the people of Northern Ireland need and deserve. Alliance welcomes the challenge.”

ENDS

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