Dickson: AERC report does nothing to move NI politics forward

Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson has claimed the failure of some parties to fully engage in the Assembly Executive Review Committee’s (AERC) latest report has led to little progress on three topical issues.

Mr Dickson – Alliance’s AERC representative – was speaking as a report focussing on a review of d’Hondt, Community designation and provisions for opposition was presented to the Assembly ahead of the summer recess.

Along with criticising the engagement of others, the MLA for East Antrim added the report does little to move Northern Ireland towards ‘Normal Politics’.

Stewart Dickson MLA said: “This has been a frustrating report to be involved in drafting as it has been hard to find a consensus on almost all issues. Consequently there is little in this report that makes much progress on these important issues.

“Looking at d’Hondt, opposition and community designation, it is clear some parties were not engaged with the review, giving incomplete answers on how they envisaged the system should work in the future.

“When it comes to community designation, Alliance believes the introduction of a system of weighted majority voting would ensure cross-community support. Assessing d’Hondt the Party feels a form of STV would be the best system for appointing chairs. Sadly the committee was unable to reach agreement on either of these issues.

“The only highlight coming out of this report is the committee’s agreement to further work on the role of Petitions of Concern. Going forward they must only be used on cross-community matters, rather than a DUP tool to further its political agenda.

“Eventually, normal politics must resume in Northern Ireland, with government, opposition and voluntary coalition. The current system does not allow for this and this report does not move use forward either.”

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