Stormont’s political system is a ‘long overdue reform’, says Northern Green Party leader


The leader of the Green Party of Northern Ireland said it was time to reform the political system in Stormont and ‘get out of the polarized politics of the past’.

Clare Bailey was speaking at the launch of her party’s election manifesto in Belfast on Thursday.

She also warned that the “urgency of the climate crisis” was becoming “increasingly evident” and that addressing it would require “system change, because the system that created the problems is not the system. who can solve the problems and that is where our policy should be targeted.

Addressing a crowd of around 40 party members, officers and elected representatives on Belfast’s barge on the River Lagan, Ms Bailey said a political system that ‘allows for constant breakdown, constant stalemate’ was clearly a “long overdue reform” system.

She said it was time to remove community designation – the mechanism that forces parties to declare themselves unionist or nationalist in order to ensure a cross-community balance on contentious issues – from the structures of the Assembly.

The Green Party, Alliance and People Before Profit (PBP) do not accept either designation and are therefore categorized as ‘other’. They oppose this designation system and argue that the views of their constituents should not be excluded from contentious decisions.

The NI Green Party currently has two incumbent Assembly Members (MPs) and eight Councillors, and aims to increase its number of MPs in the May 5 election.

Manifesto promises

In its manifesto, the party pledged to increase investment in mental health services, end college selection, issue a bill of rights and introduce a “correctly calculated” living wage.

He said he would also invest in renewable energy and ban all forms of fossil fuels, expand public transport and invest in cycling infrastructure, and create an independent environmental protection agency.

Ms Bailey said the manifesto launched on Thursday outlined a ‘green vision for a new approach to politics in Northern Ireland’ which would ensure that the ‘multiple and ever-growing crises in the lives of ordinary people are addressed’.

“Executive parties have shown time and time again that they cannot deliver the solutions needed while people continue to suffer the consequences.

“The Green Party is the biggest opposition party we have and we represent the main alternative to the broken five-party executive system,” she said.

Deputy party leader Malachy O’Hara, who is running in North Belfast, said the choice between ‘the mainstream parties and the Greens couldn’t be clearer’.

He said it was “time to invest in education, it’s time to end segregation, it’s time to end the commodification of higher education and it’s time to scrap tuition fees. schooling”.

Outgoing North Down MP Rachel Woods said only the Greens understood “how, how deep, sweeping and urgent the changes we need to make”.

She criticized Northern Ireland’s ‘shameful’ record on environmental issues and said it had the ‘lowest emissions reductions in the UK and our per capita emissions are the highest of all parts of these islands”.

“When government parties failed to mobilize, the Greens stepped in,” she said. “We introduced the climate change bill.”

She said it was time to “implement the policies and actions that our people and our planet need. It’s time to force Stormont and take a new approach,” she said.

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