East Belfast Speaks Out on Thursday 2 February 2012

Update – click through to read coverage of the actual event.

East Belfast Speaks Out 2012 leafletThe 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 Secretary of State Owen Paterson 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.

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.

  • anonymouslyopinionated

    why is there no SDLP presence at this event when every other major party has been invited to attend?

  • The organisers may want to respond, but the reasons may include the SDLP’s lack of representatives and votes in the area together with a desire to learn from previous years and keep the panel to a manageable size, and also to avoid falling into the trap of being seen to have “one of each”.

    This is the first year that the UUP have been represented on the panel, and they weren’t in the original November line up (which fell victim to the public sector strikes).

  • FuturePhysicist

    It wouldn’t surprise me if Seamus DeFaoite shows up in the crowd.

  • I think I’ve seen him there in both previous events!

  • Comrade Stalin

    It wouldn’t surprise me if Seamus DeFaoite shows up in the crowd.

    Who ?

  • eimmyxox

    The reason why the SDLP were not invited is because the representative MLAs are all MLAs from East Belfast.

    You can take my word as Gospel here as I would be very friendly with the organisers and I’m there every year :).

    Hope to see as many of you there as possible!

  • FuturePhysicist

    O’Dowd’s not an MLA for East Belfast, or even West Belfast … he’s in Upper Bann. But I suppose as Education minister he may feel he has a lot to answer for … or against.

  • An Phoblacht Abu

    Seamus DeFaoite would show up to the opening of a grave! a shameless yet absolutely poor ….well i cant say public representative as he couldnt get elected

  • FuturePhysicist

    Maybe I’ll show up then. 😉