Alliance Party Leader Naomi Long MLA visited Newcastle last week to meet with South Down Alliance Party activists, briefing them on the political situation at Stormont and discussing plans for growing the party in the constituency.
During the visit Mrs Long highlighted the need for a progressive, cross-community voice in the talks process, and that she had had several positive meetings with the new Secretary of State Karen Bradley MP, clarifying Alliance’s position on the current political impasse. Mrs Long said she was hopefull that a resolution could still be found but that it would require compromise from the DUP and Sinn Fein.
She stated that whilst Alliance was fully supportive of equal marriage and an Irish Language Act, attention should be focused on reform of the Petition of Concern, which parties have been abusing over the last decade to block legislation they didn’t agree with.
With reform of the Petition of Concern, she said, there would be a democratic majority in favour of certain rights-based issues, which the DUP would still be able to vote against if they wished.
Local Councillors Patrick Brown and Andrew McMurray were also present, and spoke about the opportunity to grow the Party in the 2019 Local Government elections. The meeting was hosted by the South Down Alliance Association, which meets every other month in Newcastle and Downpatrick. To get involved you can contact a local Councillor or join the party online.