If we are to make progress in Northern Ireland’s society, we need to reflect carefully on our core values and ensure that these are reflected in the way government works. This is the message put forward by Naomi Long – leader of the Alliance Party and justice minister – in the second of the Holywell Trust’s Forward Together podcast interviews of Northern Ireland’s political leaders.
Among the points stressed by Naomi is that violence is not acceptable as a means of getting what you want. Other core messages are that we must develop strong and positive role models and that the use of children in recent rioting is an example of child abuse.
Naomi is particularly strident in relation to the educational gaps that reflect a child’s social background and family wealth. She points to the deprivation that results from this and flows down through the generations.
The Alliance Party is positive about the potential uses of citizens’ assemblies, which have helped to achieve significant progress in the South and in various other countries. She believes that government in Northern Ireland must work with its own people to co-design services and service delivery.
This latest podcast can be listened to here.
The Holywell Trust Forward Together podcasts are funded by the Community Relations Council’s Media Grant Scheme.
Disclaimer: This project has received support from the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council which aims to promote a pluralist society characterised by equity, respect for diversity, and recognition of interdependence. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Community Relations Council.
Paul Gosling is editor of ‘Lessons from the Troubles and an Unsettled Peace’, author of ‘A New Ireland’ and ‘The Fall of the Ethical Bank’ and co-author of ‘Abuse of Trust’, the story of a child abuse scandal in Leicestershire. He is engaged by the Holywell Trust charity on peace and reconciliation projects.