Growing tribalism poses threat to future peace and stability

Alliance Party Leader, Sean Neeson, reacting to the results of the General Election in Northern Ireland, has commented that the growing tribalism now poses an even greater threat to future peace and stability.

Sean Neeson said:

“The most alarming feature of these results is the growing polarisation on both sides of the community, evidenced by the increased vote and seats for the DUP and Sinn Fein.”

“During this campaign, Alliance argued that continued tribalism is destroying the Agreement and the prospects of genuine peace and stability in Northern Ireland. We identified that this danger could only be properly countered by creating a shared, non-sectarian society. This cause has been set back further by these results. However, the relevance of the Alliance message has become even clearer as a consequence.”

“We have always supported the Agreement as the means to realise this vision, and have prioritised ensuring its survival. Alliance made considerable sacrifices, in particular in North Down, by standing down in favour of better placed advocates of the Agreement so as not to split the vote. Our decisions here and indeed in Upper Bann were crucial to the election of Ulster Unionist MPs.”

“There is no doubt Alliance has been squeezed as our traditional supporters have acted responsibly by voting tactically to protect the Agreement, even if it entailed supporting individuals whose personal stance was questionable.”

“I believe that David Trimble has achieved a sufficient mandate to continue as leader of the Ulster Unionist Party and as First Minister. The result in North Down, the only straight pro versus anti fight was a clear indication of continued support for the Agreement in a key constituency.”

“However, the broad centre across Northern Ireland has been substantially weakened. The ability of the parties to work together in the common interest and to sustain a power-sharing Executive in the future will increasingly be called into question.”

“It is a pity that the pro-Agreement parties could neither work together before the election to ensure the implementation of the Agreement, and to maximise the pro-Agreement vote. Now, the onus on them is to swiftly make a deal to implement the remaining aspects of the Agreement, and to begin to claw back lost ground.”


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