Dickson says it is time that we remove institutional sectarianism at Stormont

Alliance Chief Whip Stewart Dickson MLA has said it time that we remove the institutional sectarianism of forcing MLAs to designate themselves in the Assembly as Unionist, Nationalist or Cross Community. The designation system is used in certain votes that mean Unionists or Nationalists can block certain policies.

Stewart Dickson MLA said: “I think that the system of forcing MLAs to designate themselves as Unionist, Nationalist or Cross Community is no longer needed. In fact I do not think we ever needed this form of institutional sectarianism.

“If we are to build a shared future in Northern Ireland and stop the belief of them and us, then how can we do that if Stormont does not get rid of this designation system?

“We need to be able to trust each other and move forward, which is why we need to get rid of this system. If we are trying to promote Northern Ireland internationally then how can we do this with this head count still going in our Assembly.

“But, I am sure that certain parties will come out in staunch defence of designations, even though it is contradictory to the issue of promoting community relations.

“This is just one area of reform that we need to see to decisions made in the Good Friday Agreement. Alliance is leading change in calling for the need to cut the size of the Assembly and the number of Departments as well as moving to a form of voluntary coalition Government as opposed to the current mandatory coalition where it is harder for agreement to be reached on issues.”


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