Anniversary of ending of Ministers' terms should make us all reflect and increases need for reform, says Muir

Alliance Reform and Restoration spokesperson Andrew Muir MLA has said the year anniversary of Northern Ireland being without Ministers should make us all reflect on how badly local people have been let down, while increasing the need for reform of the Executive.

Assembly Political Reform Andrew Muir

Following May 2022’s election, caretaker Ministers remained in post for a 24-week period, however, with no Executive formed, those terms came to an end on October 28, 2022.

“The fact we are a year on from the so-called Executive Formation Period should make us all reflect on how badly the people of Northern Ireland have been let down without a government,” said North Down MLA Mr Muir.  

“In the absence of Ministers, we have had people freezing through Christmas whilst waiting for energy support payments, teachers and healthcare workers struggling without pay rises, children going hungry after cuts to free school meal payments, a crisis in special educational needs places and patients spending their life-savings to access health care. Our public services are in a state of complete disarray, and still we have no Executive, no leadership, no way forward.

“The year has taken its toll as inflation continues to squeeze our finances and the situation is now even more dire than before. We should have Ministers negotiating a financial settlement that will take into account our need and put public services on a sustainable footing. Instead, the DUP continues to use the people here as bargaining chips in abstract ideological arguments.

“With our history of stop-start politics, it is clear we cannot continue with a system that enables parties to hold the institutions to ransom. If we allow parties to opt out of government and move towards weighted majority voting as catered for in the Good Friday Agreement, we can have power-sharing that incentivises cooperation and not dysfunction. If we are to have stable and effective government for Northern Ireland, the only way forward is reform. 

“In Alliance, we remain committed to devolution and steadfast in our determination to make Northern Ireland work for everyone. That’s why we will continue to make the case for reform. We must never again allow our people here to suffer while vetoes put the Assembly in cold storage.”