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MLA News

  • Stewart Dickson profile pic 1
    1 PM Friday
    Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson has warned someone will be killed if an ongoing feud in Larne continues.

    Mr Dickson was speaking after the latest incident, which saw two people escape injury after a petrol bomb was thrown through the front window of a house in the Walnut Park area of the town this morning around 8am.

    Fire Service crew extinguished the fire, ensuring no injuries occurred. Police have linked the attack to the ongoing feud in the area.

    "This is the latest in a growing line of extremely dangerous incidents," said Mr Dickson.

    "If these attacks continue it is only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or killed. I would strongly encourage those involved to end the violence before more damage is done and lives are lost.

    The nature of these violent attacks puts everyone in the community at risk. Anyone with information in relation to these incidents should contact the PSNI immediately or speak to Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 555 111."

  • Naomi Long
    12 PM Friday
    Alliance Leader Naomi Long has been selected as the party's candidate for the East Belfast constituency in the upcoming General Election.

    The party's MLA Paula Bradshaw was also chosen by members as Alliance candidate for the South Belfast constituency for the June 8 poll.

    The pair are two of the 18 candidates Alliance will be standing across Northern Ireland, a fact Mrs Long said was testament to the commitment of the party to changing the direction of society.

    "In 2015, Alliance was only 2,500 votes away from defeating a five-party pact in East Belfast. People responded to our positive message of change then and I am confident voters will once again want to see that and back Alliance candidates in this General Election.

    "We will be contesting this election on a platform of providing a progressive alternative to the current direction of travel, opposing a hard Brexit and putting the case for a special deal for Northern Ireland in any negotiations. People who back Alliance's progressive candidates strengthen that case and protect our local interests in such uncertain times."

    "In March, Alliance increased our vote over 50 per cent, the best performance of any party here, thanks to our clear message and the support of the public," added Ms Bradshaw.

    "In South Belfast, Alliance is the only party able to represent everyone. It is the most diverse and inclusive constituency in Northern Ireland, and people clearly want to back Alliance as the only progressive, pro-Remain party which can win here.

    "Alliance is the only party which can offer a real alternative to unionist-nationalist politics which can win the seat in South Belfast, and offer people a representative who truly reflects the diversity of the area."

  • Naomi Long
    3 PM Thursday

    Alliance Leader Naomi Long MLA has said while the talks process is being parked, cuts to vital public services are not.

    Mrs Long said she was "hugely frustrated and disappointed" by the decision by the Secretary of State, which will see formal negotiations paused until after the General Election on June 8.

    However, the East Belfast MLA said the lack of a functioning Executive was having an impact in society on a daily basis.

    "Once the Prime Minister called this snap election, the prospects of reaching any deal became even more remote. However, it has rapidly become apparent the logistics of ongoing formal negotiations during the election period were untenable.

    "Alliance is both hugely frustrated and disappointed the calling of the election has derailed the process at such a critical time for Northern Ireland. While we can park the talks, we cannot park the juggernaut of cuts and chaos hitting our public finances and placing in jeopardy our health services, schools and education, voluntary and community sector, infrastructure investment and economic growth.

    "The people who elected us need a working Assembly, now more than ever. We hope in this campaign, parties will work to ensure the progress which has been made will not be undone and we will be able to return after the election to urgently deliver what we were elected to.

    "Alliance will continue to talk on a bilateral basis and we remain committed to delivering devolution as soon as possible."
  • Kellie Armstrong
    12 PM Thursday

    Alliance Infrastructure spokesperson Kellie Armstrong MLA has welcomed the announcement from Heathrow Airport for up to £15 billion of contracts outside London.

    The contracts are available to areas with suitable locations, good connectivity, access to a relevant supply chain and strong local skills. Ms Armstrong said Northern Ireland could offer all of that but added she was concerned the lack of an Executive meant any opportunity could be lost.

    "We currently have no Minister for Infrastructure or functioning Executive to progress such a regionally significant investment project.

    "If the DUP and Sinn Fein were not so determined to put party priorities before the public's, we would have an Executive able to take forward a bid to ensure Northern Ireland has a share of the £15 billion.

    "This investment would support our construction industry at a time when it needs a substantial income boost. But the opportunity could now be lost without progress in the talks."

  • Paula Bradshaw profile pic 2
    11 AM Thursday

    Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has welcomed the postponement of a consultation on the future of A&E at Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry, but warned it demonstrates the urgency needed to restore the Executive.

    The temporary postponement follows warnings from the Southern Health Trust the emergency service at the hospital was unsustainable, as it relied too heavily on locums.

    South Belfast MLA Ms Bradshaw said the issue had caused significant concern and dismay due to any consultation appearing to be a last resort to save money rather than as part of an overall strategy to improve care.

    "My colleague Councillor Patrick Brown and I have lobbied to emphasise the unacceptability of making significant decisions over the future of healthcare services in the area based on budgets rather than people.

    "I am concerned the consultation on options will go ahead without any apparent sense of how it fits into the overall strategy for transformation of our health and social care system. The very core of every expert report we have had on the issue is the silo mentality has to be overcome by a broad sense of a cohesive service responding to patients' needs more effectively and efficiently.

    "This transformation is the single most important issue we have at devolved level, which is why we should have a Health Minister back in place and a Health Committee scrutinising the work without delay."
  • Trevor Lunn20172
    6 PM Wednesday
    Alliance Justice spokesperson Trevor Lunn MLA has said if there is evidence against soldiers for killings in the Troubles, then prosecutions should be brought.

    Mr Lunn was speaking after Westminster's Defence Committee backed a statute of limitations stopping investigations or prosecutions of former British soldiers for acts during the Troubles.

    "In all such cases, we should follow the evidence," said Lagan Valley MLA Mr Lunn, who added he opposed any immunity.

    "Ex-members of the armed forces should be treated exactly the same as anyone else in a similar situation. If the evidence is there for any killings, it should be put before the Director of Public Prosecutions to allow a decision to be made whether to prosecute."

  • Stewart Dickson profile pic 1
    11 AM Wednesday

    Alliance East Antrim MLA Stewart Dickson has expressed concern after a police officer suffered a broken ankle and another was punched in the face during an assault in Carrickfergus.

    The incident took place in the Victoria Road area around 7.15pm yesterday (Tuesday) after the officers responded to reports of a fight between two men. One of them subsequently struck out at the officers. A third officer suffered cuts and bruises. The 28-year-old man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of offences including assault on police, criminal damage and grievous bodily harm, and remains in custody.

    "This was an extremely concerning and appalling incident which must be condemned in the strongest possible terms," said Mr Dickson.

    "Police do a fantastic job keeping the community safe in sometimes particularly challenging circumstances, even without attacks such as these. To add to that burden by assaulting these officers is disgusting.

    "My thoughts are with the officers concerned and I would urge anyone with information on this incident to pass it to police immediately."
  • Kellie Armstrong
    10 AM Wednesday

    Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong has reiterated her call for all public buildings in Northern Ireland to have appropriate toilet facilities for older children and adults with disabilities.

    Strangford MLA Ms Armstrong, who is a long-term supporter of the Changing Places charity which works to develop such toilets, said more needed to be done to change the current situation, which meant many standard accessible toilets here were not fit for purpose.

  • 1 PM Tuesday

    In response to the collapse of the proposed nationalist pact in South Belfast, an Alliance spokesperson said:

    "The Green Party have belatedly recognised their own naivety in even considering pacts, and have become more desperate in doing in the past few days.

    "To think Alasdair McDonnell, a socially conservative incumbent SDLP MP, would step aside in South Belfast or Sinn Fein would renounce their long-standing and counterproductive abstentionist policy was never realistic.

    "The Green Party is now tainted from chasing a nationalist pact and their seeming desire to turn several constituencies into a sectarian headcount.

    "Alliance has been clear from the outset in our rejection of pacts as a matter of principle and we have not been interested in giving any mixed message on that point from having any meetings on the matter.

    "We remain happy to talk to any party on matters of common cause around policy matters, including on how we can avoid a hard Brexit and secure a special deal for Northern Ireland."
  • Chris Lyttle20171
    last Monday

    Alliance MLAs have called for the redress scheme for victims and survivors of institutional abuse to be prioritised during the talks process.

    The call by Chris Lyttle MLA and Paula Bradshaw MLA came after victims and survivors presented copies of their position paper and recommendations on the findings of the Panel of Experts on Redress to political parties at Stormont.

    It accompanied a letter from the group calling on politicians to use the current talks process to discuss the establishment of a compensation framework for historic abuse and fully consult victims and survivors.

    "The victims and survivors are the most important part of this whole process. They deserve help in gaining compensation, as well as counselling, accessing family members and a full apology for the sexual, physical and emotional abuse they suffered," said Mr Lyttle.

    "As such, we should be prioritising their need during the talks, particularly as such redress has been recommended by the Chair of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry."

    "While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to redress, it would mark a major step to helping victims and survivors get on with their lives. With compensation, we can help them get the justice they deserve, so they can begin getting on with their lives," added Ms Bradshaw.

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