Reform of the institutions so one party can't collapse them must be priority for new year, says Long

Reform of the local institutions so no one party can collapse them again must be the priority for the New Year, Alliance Leader Naomi Long MLA has said.

Political Reform Naomi Long

The Alliance Leader said the DUP needed to take the decision to restore the Assembly and Executive as soon as possible but steps must also be taken to protect against similar collapses in future.

“As New Year approaches, we remain stuck in a rinse and repeat cycle of ransom politics,” she said.

“There is no doubt 2023 was a frustrating year in many ways. The constant stop-go nature of an Assembly and Executive over recent years has played a major role in our public services crumbling, workers struggling without pay rises and the deepening crises across our public services.

“There is now a financial package on the table, which offers some space to try to resolve these issues. Those preventing the restoration of the institutions and stopping that deal being taken need to reflect on their actions and the consequences for ordinary people of the £3.3 billion being rejected.

“The DUP has said it is not calendar-led but the cost of every day to our people and our public services is significant. Those languishing on waiting lists or awaiting on pay settlements so they can pay their bills do not have the luxury of time. There is nothing stopping the restoration of the Assembly and Executive now.

“However, 2024 must offer more for our politics an our people than restoration. The restored institutions must be placed on a sustainable footing, financially and politically. Reforming of the Executive and Assembly to ensure they can not only deliver more effectively but not be collapsed by any single party is essential. That must be our priority going into next year.

“In addition, a General Election will be called at some point in 2024. That election provides the entire community with an opportunity to reject the politics of fear, negativity and division, and instead embrace the politics of hope, aspiration, and a shared future.”