Responding to a protest and statement by Alisdair McDonnell, Alliance Westminster candidate Geraldine Rice MLA has said that his protests outside Castlereagh Borough Council are ‘hypocritical’, and the idea of compulsory division of council posts is ‘simply unworkable’.
Speaking in her South Belfast constituency, Cllr Rice said: “This is yet more hypocrisy. The fact is the SDLP has received more posts than it was entitled to in the past council term, SDLP Councillors voted for Iris Robinson as Mayor, and currently there is an SDLP Deputy Chair of the DPP. When it has come to standing up to the DUP, the SDLP has remained silent while the Alliance Party has done all the work.
“A compulsory arrangement using d’Hondt, as advocated by Mr McDonnell, would in fact have seen more positions filled by Alliance at the expense of the SDLP. But the fact is compulsory arrangements do not work. They did not work in the Assembly, they will not work at local level. Why does the SDLP continue to promote ideas that have already been shown to fail? Has it been asleep for the past seven years?
“The electorate cannot continue to trust a party whose policies and ideas are grounded in hypocrisy and unreality. Alliance has always supported genuine power sharing by voluntary arrangements at all levels to build mutual trust and respect. That view has been consistently reinforced by what has happened in practice, and I hope it will be reinforced by the electorate too on 5 May.”