Alliance Assembly member Naomi Long said today that people were rightly fed up with the stop-start political process, and said that a consistent effort needs to be made by local politicians and the Government to restoring the Assembly on a firm footing.
The East Belfast MLA stated: “The definition of a fool is someone who keeps doing the same thing and expects a different result. It would be nonsensical to attempt to restore the Assembly exactly as it was, without addressing the weaknesses that were clearly apparent in the last Assembly.”
The Assembly did not collapse purely because of distrust — that distrust was evident even when it was up and running. It collapsed because it lacked the structures to govern a segregated society fairly were simply not in place.
We must have a proper review of those structures and ensure that any new Assembly is constructed on a firm foundation and built to last. More ‘revolving-door’ devolution, lasting a matter of weeks or months and ending in suspension will simply serve to further erode public confidence in politics.
The Secretary of State is right that the current situation of suspension cannot continue indefinitely; however, he must play his part and get a serious, sustained and inclusive process underway now with all the Assembly parties which actually addresses the barriers to restoration of the Assembly.
The side-deal side-show over which he has been presiding needs to end. We need to get the focus of Government back on an inclusive process, which is the only hope of stable and lasting devolution being restored.