East Belfast candidate Naomi Long MLA outlined today why not only local, but global responsibility, is at the heart of Alliance’s message to the electorate.
Cllr Long, a member of Belfast’s Fair Trade Steering Panel, which is trying to obtain Fair Trade City Status, said: “Alliance estimate that local irresponsibility on the part of other parties is costing us millions every year in unnecessarily segregated public services and facilities. However, global irresponsibility may have a still greater cost. Parochialism leaves us in danger of missing the much bigger international picture.
“It is right that we should be aware of our responsibilities to vulnerable people in our own society; however, that same responsibility extends across international borders also.
“While the current UK Chancellor has been pressing hard for progress, it is too little to late. It is disgraceful that the UK and Irish Governments have failed even to come close to meeting their agreed targets on international development aid, failed to come up with a package to cancel unpayable third-world debt, and that fair trade products have not been made standard across government.
“We have a responsibility through development aid, fair trade and sensible environmental policies to givem every producer, worker, and community in the world a fair chance to make social and economic progress. Such measures are not about charity, they are about delivering social justice, equality of opportunity and political and social stability on a global scale. They also make economic sense. For every £1 in grants made to developing nations, they currently return £13 in debt repayments, which simply defies logic.
“Global responsibility works, parochialism doesn’t.”
NOTE TO EDITORS:
Mrs Long is MLA for East Belfast and serves on Belfast City Council. Her husband Michael is also an Alliance councillor, in Castlereagh.