East Belfast Speaks Out – a low key audience asked politicians about a wide range of issues #ebso

Back for the fourth time, the hustings event in East Belfast offered the local community (and hangers on from further afield) the opportunity to stick up their hand and put any question to the political panel. Stephen Farry (Alliance, standing in for David Ford); Alex Attwood (SDLP); Deirdre Heenan (UU); Mark Devenport (chair); Mike Nesbitt (UUP); Theresa Villiers (Conservative, NI Secretary of State) There was an expectation that the Ashfield Boys School assembly hall would be flooded with flag protesters. …

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East Belfast Speaks Out – Wednesday evening at 7.30pm in Ashfield Boys School

Reminder that East Belfast Speaks Out is back again in Ashfield Boys School on Wednesday evening. An audience of 400 is again expected to hold local and national politicians to account. This year the largest executive bedfellows are being rested and other parties given a chance. Alex Attwood (SDLP) David Ford (Alliance) has pulled out Stephen Farry (Alliance) Deirdre Heenan (University of Ulster) Mike Nesbitt (UUP) Theresa Villiers (Conservative NI Secretary of State) Mark Devenport is back in the chair …

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Platform for Change debating Haass/O’Sullivan agenda (Mon 25 Nov); East Belfast Speaks Out (Wed 27 Nov)

The last week of November is shaping up to be a week of political hustings and community discussions. Looking towards the final stages of the Haass/O’Sullivan talks, Platform for Change are hosting a panel discussion in Dukes at Queens (aka, Dukes Hotel) on Monday 25 November from 7.30pm to 9.30pm. Previous events this year have explored flags (with a remarkable inclusive panel) and education. This time the panel tackling the agenda of the political talks and is appallingly titled: Parades, …

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John O’Dowd: the education debate is “continuing in a better atmosphere” but it’s not yet time for all-party talks

John O'Dowd on East Belfast Speaks Out panel

I grabbed a very quick interview with Education Minister John O’Dowd as he headed down the corridor in Ashfield Boys School to go home after last night’s East Belfast Speaks Out community hustings. In the past few months he’s announced reductions in school budgets, given a partial reprieve after finding extra money for his department, and most recently announced a shake up of SEN/statementing. I asked whether this was all not a lot for school principals to have to deal …

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East Belfast Speaks Out – a community hustings that was in the hands of the people

East Belfast Speaks Out 2012 leaflet

East Belfast Speaks Out was back for a third time last night. Having eliminated the warm up act, this year it was straight into questions after a brief introduction from chairperson Mark Devenport. The panel consisted of Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle, DUP MLA Sammy Douglas, Sinn Fein Education Minister John O’Dowd, UUP MLA Michael Copeland, PUP councillor John Kyle. (For the third year in a row, Owen Paterson didn’t turn up at the event. For the first time, the reason …

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East Belfast Speaks Out on Thursday 2 February 2012

East Belfast Speaks Out 2012 leaflet

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

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East Belfast Spoke Out

The panel at 2010 East Belfast Speaks Out

Someone said it was only the second time that Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness had appeared together as MLAs (rather than ministers) on the same panel since they formed their FM/dFM partnership. They were joined by Dawn Purvis, Hugo Swire and Liam Clarke. Security constraints prevented the disclosure of full panel in advance, and the small matter of the Manchester football derby, meant that organisers worried the numbers attending might be low. But the hall in Ashfield Boys School was …

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East Belfast Speaks Out on 10.11.10

If you like your politics face to face and within heckling distance and you’re living in East Belfast, last year’s popular political engagement event is returning to Ashfield Boys School on 10 November 2010. Doors open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start. Mark Devenport is chairing this year’s East Belfast Speaks Out panel which is in the process of being publicly announced, but safe to say that there are some heavyweights on the list to attend and respond to questions …

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