Marking her public return since a short leave of absence, Mrs Long was speaking at the Alliance Party’s first North West Autumn Conference at the Everglades Hotel, held after a significant period of growth for the party west of the Bann.
Naomi Long MLA said: “While deadlines drift by, and the political talking drifts on, we are all drifting, not in a calm sea, but in dangerous and choppy waters. There are real and serious consequences for us all for lack of an Executive. That’s why we are calling on the Secretary of State to reconsider our proposals for an external facilitator to be brought in to give new impetus and focus to the talks.
“If we want to see devolution restored, then we need a concerted effort involving all of the parties and the two governments, to find a way through this impasse in a way which acknowledges honestly that these disputes are, at their most fundamental, not simply about a language act or an armed forces covenant. They are at their core about demonstrating through words and actions, mutual respect for both British and Irish Identity and our commitment to share this space together, in co-operation rather than conflict.
“That’s why the Alliance Party’s vision and values are so desperately needed in the conversation. We have grasped the unexpected challenges and transformed them into opportunities to take the Alliance message to new places, to show we are a credible alternative to binary politics and to show that when we say Alliance is For Everyone, it isn’t an empty slogan, it’s a statement of purpose and we intend to deliver.”