David Ford MLA said: “Our ambitions in the coming elections are that Anna Lo will be elected as an MEP, and that Alliance will have the highest proportion of Councillors than at any time in the last 30 years.
“The theme of our campaign for these elections is ‘Step Forward’, as we ask people to step forward and vote Alliance. It’s a direct appeal to people to act on the frustrations that we know they feel about politics.
“Frustration at the way things are, as opposed to how they could be.
“Frustrations at the seemingly endless squabbles that pass for politics here, with too many parties looking backward at the past, or over their shoulders at what the extremists might do if they dare to move forward.
“Frustrations expressed by people who are out of work, or whose kids are having to move away to find employment.
“Business people who know from their balance sheets that community division and economic growth just don’t mix.
“People who welcome the fact that we now have peace, but can’t understand why politicians are standing in the way of reconciliation.
“So today I want to make a direct appeal to those people. To say to them that if you want Northern Ireland to take big steps forward, Alliance is the party for you. To encourage them to take the opportunity that this double election offers. To tell them that change happens, when people step forward.
“Stepping Forward to vote Alliance offers the chance to make change happen.
“The Alliance candidates who have stepped forward represent and reflect a new Northern Ireland, where diversity is recognised and celebrated, and reflected in politics. No other party will do that. With our diversity of age, gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political background – Alliance is a party, like no other, whose candidates reflect the community we want to serve.
“We are united by a radical determination to cast off the old unionist versus nationalist mould of Northern Ireland politics, and an unequivocal commitment to building a united community.
“Whether it’s in the new Councils, or in Europe, Alliance representatives will pursue this Party’s primary objective – an end to the politics of ‘them and us’, and the development of a politics ‘for everyone’.
“The best way to show Europe that Northern Ireland is moving to a politics for everyone; and the best way to make the new start to local government a new start towards a shared future, is to step forward and vote Alliance. To vote for Anna Lo for Europe, and for Alliance candidates in the Local Government elections.”