Stop messing around and get back to work!

If I woke up tomorrow and decided I couldn’t get on with my colleagues nor did I want to strike an agreement on a direction for a project we were working on – I’d be in trouble.

Worse still if I just simply decided not to turn up to my job, I’d no doubt be sacked and someone else would be found to replace me.

As the talks to restore the Northern Ireland Executive seem to be stuck in a Groundhog Day-like fiasco I, like many other people across the country, have been getting increasingly irritated by the lack of progress.

You would think we’d be used to this diabolical behaviour by now – but sadly too many of us live in hope and are therefore still shocked and disappointed by the actions of our politicians.

Public services, schools, our local NHS, the arts and the voluntary and community sector are being starved of resources, before long the doors will be closing and redundancies announced.

Come November the reality of there being no money to fund Northern Ireland’s services will be here. If there’s no agreement by then the Secretary of State, James Brokenshire, will have the difficult choice of calling an election or implementing Direct Rule.

Let’s be honest the UK Government and Opposition are more interested in the complexities of Brexit and their internal squabbling than the problems our wee thorn in their side brings.

It’s highly doubtful they intend to prioritise the need for bringing forward legislation to allow even limited Direct Rule for the release of funds.

If such a piece of legislation was to come into force it may allow a small amount of cash to filter through the economy in order to alleviate the budgetary crisis. But it’s not a solution, nor is it really an effective stopgap.

In the meantime, our two major parties continue to play table tennis with our lives with a standalone Irish Language Act being the main sticking point.

Shockingly the current running costs of the Assembly – that isn’t sitting in any manner at all – is set to hit around £4m since the election.

Our health and social care trusts are talking about multi-million-pound reductions to operations and nursing home services…this isn’t fiction…it’s our reality.

Of course, the MLAs aren’t about to hand over their wages. Both the DUP and SinnFéin have backed themselves so far into a corner neither are willing to compromise a way out.

And it doesn’t seem to be doing either much harm. Why?

They’re busier thinking of ways to save face than to save the lives of those being failed by our dwindling health service. They’ve decided green and orange politics is more important than the education and wellbeing of our children.

On World Peace Day I think Patricia Murtagh, principal of Hazelwood Integrated Primary School in Newtownabbey, had a good point. She said:

It is perhaps pertinent to look at the local impasse at Stormont – peaceful resolution requires compromise, conversation, trust and humility – skills we are teaching our children at this moment in Hazelwood Integrated Primary.

It is not about who is the strongest or the bravest or the most powerful but about the bigger picture – a good quality of life for every citizen.

Meanwhile, as operations are cancelled, schools are forced into making harsh cuts, economic development uncertain and social care stretched there is nothing to indicate any member of the DUP or Sinn Féin will demonstrate responsibility in any shape or form.

So the question is are people, who would normally stand on opposite sides of the divide at the ballot box, ready to unite. As Patricia says we’re already equipping some of our children for an integrated future.

The reality is the real enemy to the people of Northern Ireland is the politicians who would rather keep us divided – it helps to cover up those Nama, RHI and other scandals. By starving society of resources they retain and maintain their power and control over us?

If they refuse to are we willing to compromise a way out?

Even if we don’t want to do it for ourselves maybe we could see that we have no choice but to stand up for those who are vulnerable and disenfranchised and who are being failed by the entire political system here in Northern Ireland.

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