Traditional parties cannot lock themselves away from public frustration
Thursday 16 March 2017
Green Party MLAs have submitted a series of Assembly motions and reminded the traditional parties that they cannot not lock themselves away from public frustration as the behind closed doors Stormont House talks continue.
Steven Agnew made the call as the Green Party submitted five Assembly motions, setting out important areas for Assembly action.
The North Down MLA said: “Let’s not forget that every MLA should be in the Assembly today, providing stable government, creating jobs and protecting the most vulnerable in our society.
“The failure of the traditional parties has ensured that, instead we’re waiting for a deal which, at best, only puts us back where we should have been.
“While the main party leaders are holed up in Stormont House, they should realise that back in the real world people are losing their jobs and waiting lists spiralling out of control.
“When they decide it’s time to descend from Stormont House, these motion submissions and a huge job of work will be waiting for them.
“The motions include our proposals for a constitutional convention, abortion law reform, transparency around political donations, a Brexit final deal referendum and a RHI Windfall Tax”.
Mr Agnew concluded:
“An agreement would be greeted with relief, not an outpouring of acclaim. Public frustration is mounting – Stormont House shouldn’t provide a safe haven from that.”
07701 302 498
Notes for editors:
- The Green Party motions are as follows:
That this Assembly notes the failure of previous talks processes to provide long-term, sustainable government in Northern Ireland; recognises that public engagement enhances the democratic process; and therefore calls on the First and Deputy First Minister, along with the British and Irish governments, to establish a Constitutional Convention and subsequent referendum to review, reform and revitalise the Good Friday Agreement, with the intention of providing long-term stability to the political system in Northern Ireland.
Decriminalisation of Early Medical Abortions
That this Assembly recognises the continuing criminal proceedings connected to using, or helping others to use, medications to induce early medical abortion; notes the disproportionate impact of the current legal framework on women who turn to illegal medications due to their financial circumstances or immigration status; and calls on the executive to decriminalise early medical abortions with pills up to 9 weeks of pregnancy in order to ensure safe, legal access to these medications with the support of medical professionals.
That this Assembly recognises the importance of the public scrutiny of elected representatives; further recognises that an important aspect of this scrutiny is knowledge of who donates to political parties; and calls on the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to require the Electoral Commission to publish donations to political parties over £500.
Referendum on Brexit Deal
That this Assembly notes that the 2016 referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union only decided the principle of leaving the EU, not the circumstances under which we leave; further notes the 56% of people in Northern Ireland who voted to remain; and therefore calls on the Prime Minister to hold a referendum on the terms of any Brexit deal agreed with the European Union before any exit is finalised, with the option to remain being on the ballot, to ensure that citizens can make an informed choice.
Windfall Tax on the Renewable Heat Incentive
That this Assembly recognises that there has been significant abuse of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme prior to changes implemented in 2015; calls on the Minister of Finance to introduce a Windfall Tax on any profits above and beyond the cost of biomass used earned through the RHI for applicants prior to November 18th 2015 to return the scheme to its original intention of encouraging the replacement of fossil fuels with renewable sources; and further calls on the Minister of Finance to negotiate with the British Treasury to ensure that any money generated from the Windfall Tax is returned to the block grant.