Any restored Assembly needs serious reform to deliver for people, says Long

Any restored Assembly needs serious reform to make it deliver fully for the people of Northern Ireland, Alliance Leader Naomi Long MLA has said.

Mrs Long said while the key issues of difference between the parties remained, she believed progress could and should still be made on other issues to prepare for any future return to devolution.

“The public and many of us in politics are increasingly frustrated at the absence of any devolved Government and lack of any effort to restore it. Despite the Secretary of State’s commitment to fresh engagement in the new year, nothing has emerged.

“Alliance may not be in a position to resolve all of the issues, but we refuse to do nothing and allow this drift to continue. That’s why we convened a roundtable meeting in October of all the parties and independents, and more recently initiated a series of one-to-one meetings with all parties at leadership level.

“From those meetings, there is now broad agreement governance issues affecting the Executive and Assembly need to be tackled and it would be useful to engage in informal discussions about the reforms required. That process will also be further informed by any recommendations emerging from the RHI Inquiry Report.

“Some work was done on this back in 2016 and Alliance has suggested a number of additional areas which need addressed, but ultimately there needs to be a reinvigorated talks process with an independent facilitator if the wider issues are to be resolved.

“However, if and when those talks resume and a window of opportunity for forming an Executive arises, having work completed on governance can help avoid any further delay and create an Executive that is sustainable and delivers for those who elect us.”

Alliance’s solutions for transparent and accountable governance are available here.

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