The motto of East Belfast Speaks Out must be “If at first you don’t succeed, try again”. Having been thwarted in November by the public sector strikes, a new date has been scheduled – Thursday 2 February 2012 at 7.30pm in Ashfield Boys’ School.
The general theme of the evening is still:
How responsive is the Assembly to the real concerns of the electorate?
Due to availability and travel plans, there has been some shuffling of the panel. The current line-up is:
Minister of Education John O’Dowd MLA (Sinn Féin) will be joined by Michael Copeland (UUP), Sammy Douglas MLA (DUP), John Kyle (PUP councillor) and Chris Lyttle MLA (Alliance). Mark Devenport will be back again to chair the evening.
Continuing to welcome questions on all subjects of concern to the people of East Belfast, with an Executive Minister present, education may be a hot topic.
Last year, organisers pulled together a panel that included the First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness as well as the
Minister of State Hugo Swire as well as Dawn Purvis and journalist Liam Clarke. Topics covered included the size of local political institutions, Historical Enquiries Team, CSI, the future of NI, corporation tax and the Azores ruling, why Owen Paterson was missing for the second year in a row, university fees, capital cuts and public sector job cuts. Secretary of State Owen Paterson
Will Jim Wilson manage to ask the same opening question from the floor as he has in the previous two events? It’s probably still relevant! “Do the panel think the Historical Enquiries Team is the best way to move our society forward?”
Ashfield Boys School on the Holywood Road will once again be the venue. Doors open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start.
Like the annual West Belfast Talks Back event, this might be an opportunity for Slugger commenters and posters to make their views known directly to politicians – particularly those living and voting in the East Belfast (soon to be South East Belfast) constituency.