Well-known for her on-going work on victims’ and educational issues, Jayne has now joined Alliance as she believes the Party is best placed to deliver the change Northern Ireland deserves
Her move comes as the Alliance Party’s membership continues to grow significantly following a successful election – signalling more and more people are committing to the Party’s vision of a diverse, respectful and shared society for everyone.
Jayne Olorunda said: “I am absolutely certain I have found my political home in the Alliance Party. I entered politics in the hope that I could play some part in helping people in Northern Ireland, raising their expectations of what life could be like here as part of a shared society.
“How we deal with victims and the past as we build reconciliation across our community is a particularly important issue for me and I have been impressed with the work Alliance has done on this, not just during the Haass process, but also at Westminster through Naomi Long.”
Author Jayne Olorunda, 34, from Belfast was just two years old when her father, Nigerian born, Max Olorunda was killed by an IRA incendiary bomb which detonated prematurely in Dunmurry aboard a train from Ballymena to Belfast in January 1980.
She added: “Losing my father in the troubles has resulted in my becoming a carer and Alliance recognises the challenges of all victims and also that many of those affected are now carers.
“Alliance is working towards strengthening support for victims and survivors and I hope to be involved in this process. I was unhappy with the draw a line angle that NI21 took but they were aware of this. I believe NI21 softened their approach to encompass immediate support because of the opposition they faced.
“I had spoken to victims groups about my involvement in the party and although they were not happy, they respected my decision and my belief that if I stayed longer that perhaps we could adopt a more sensitive approach to the past.
“In joining Alliance I feel as if a weight has been lifted off my shoulders as I no longer have to explain to my family and other victims that we won’t address the past or deny anyone the opportunity of justice. Alliance sees addressing the past as the only way forward and is dealing with the difficult issues of the past head on.
“As for NI21 I was upset that the party imploded and I am aware that attempts to rebuild are under way. I wish them well.
“The leadership shown by Alliance and in particular Anna Lo was what gave me my final push to step forward. Northern Ireland needs a strong cross community party now, the country is not in a position to wait.
“Alliance also wishes to see an end to the designation. This is an important issue as NI21’s final stumbling block proved.”
Anna Lo MLA said: “I have known Jayne for some time and have long been impressed by her dedication to the issues she is passionate about. I am delighted that Jayne has decided to step forward to bring her experience and skills to the Alliance Party in South Belfast and across Northern Ireland.”
South Belfast Chair Paula Bradshaw – also a Belfast City Councillor – added: “We are delighted to welcome Jayne’s particular knowledge and passion in the areas of educational under-achievement and helping victims. She will be of great assistance in helping us influence those issues at all levels – in Council, in the Assembly and in Parliament.”