Lo disappointed by tribal parties’ opposition to shared future proposals

Alliance Environment spokesperson, Anna Lo MLA, has expressed her disappointment that the SDLP and Sinn Fein vetoed an Alliance amendment to the Local Government Bill that would have made equality and good relations considerations a requirement for community planning. The SDLP and Sinn Fein lodged a petition of concern to the Alliance amendment. The DUP, UUP and Sinn Fein also voted against an Alliance amendment that called for the promotion of shared spaces.

Anna Lo MLA said: “I am very disappointed by the opposition of the tribal parties to the promotion of shared spaces and the inclusion of good relations in the Local Government Bill.

“I hope the public will remember those parties who are actively seeking to promote shared future policies, and those parties who have opposed such proposals.

“The idea of shared spaces is a key building block for a shared future, something that the DUP and Sinn Fein made a commitment towards in their ‘Together: Building a United Community’ document. Shared spaces are spaces where culture and identity can be celebrated and where no-one feels uncomfortable or intimidated by sectarianism, racism or threatening behaviour.

“I am shocked that that the SDLP vetoed the Alliance Party amendment on good relations. As a party who have previously stated that they support the idea of a shared future, they really should have voted for this Alliance amendment.

“I believe that both equality and good relations considerations should be central to community planning. While they are different concepts, they are mutually supportive. Too much time and energy has been wasted on arguments about whether equality is more important than good relations. Commitments and policies on equality and good relations must be applied to reinforce each other rather than be set in opposition.”


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