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A lot achieved by return of power-sharing but more remains to be done, says Long

A lot has been achieved by the return of power-sharing in Northern Ireland but more remains to be done to deliver for people, Alliance Leader Naomi Long MLA has said.

Speaking on the second anniversary of the formation of the Executive following the three-year impasse, Mrs Long said a focus on maximising the time left of the remaining mandate was needed, instead of threatening the institutions.

“New Decade, New Approach (NDNA) provided a basis for parties to re-enter government after three wasted years in the wilderness. Now we are once again seeing threats to the stability of the institutions, as if some are more addicted to disruption rather than being focused on delivery. Delivery of the commitments in NDNA has not been what was hoped but that has not been helped by a lack of focus from some in the Executive,” she said.

“However, by contrast, in Alliance we have focused on ensuring we have used every moment of this two-year mandate to drive forward new legislation and policy, including those commitments in NDNA - whether criminalising non violent domestic abuse or securing funding for additional police officers, whether delivering committal reform to speed up justice or bringing Private Members’ Bills to promote and support integrated education and end the exemption from fair employment legislation for schools.

“We have demonstrated both in ministerial office and Committees devolution does matter, can make a positive difference to people's lives and has the power to deliver the kind of wide-ranging reform which Northern Ireland needs if we are to meaningfully tackle issues like rebuilding our health services and addressing climate change.

“A lot has been achieved, but a lot still remains to be done. We need to focus on maximising delivery in every minute left of this mandate without further disruption and returning MLAs in May's election who are as committed to delivering that pace of progress and reform over the full five-year mandate which follows. Delivering stable, productive, effective Government is what NDNA sought to kick-start – we remain committed to sustaining that momentum.”