49 MLAs send letter to Tusk backing the backstop

Dear Mr Tusk, The proposed date of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, 31 October, is fast approaching. As leaders of local political parties who represent the cross-community majority who voted to remain in the EU we have grave concerns about the current trajectory toward a no-deal Brexit and the impact this would have on our economy, our border and community cohesion. An analysis carried out by the Northern Ireland Civil Service has predicted job losses in the region …

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Council elections 2019- all you need to know Part II

Following on from my previous post looking at the runners and riders for the local government election, I’ll now drill down in a bit more detail to look at each council and some of the key races. In a previous post I spoke about how all the parties will be telling us how they want our votes, but in reality no party in the 2014 election stood in every single DEA, meaning that not everyone who wanted to vote for …

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Greens thankful for consolidation and plan for further growth

GREEN PARTY NI hired a larger room this year in the Clayton Hotel for their annual party conference. As well as hearing from Clare Bailey who was stepping down as deputy leader, party leader Steven Agnew spoke about his thankfulness for volunteer commitment and stable finances that had sustained the party through unexpected elections and a desire to see the professionalism of their ground campaign continue to grow. The morose political mood across society was less evident than I expected.

Soapbox: Steven Agnew argues it’s time to look at voluntary coalition

Soapbox: Steven Agnew argues that it’s time to look at voluntary coalition. He says “no party should have the power to tear the devolved institutions down and leave the electorate in Northern Ireland powerless”, adding “that’s why a voluntary coalition can usher in an era of fresh politics and politicians that put people first”.

Green Party NI conference – tackling waste that holds back Northern Ireland

Over the last four or five years that I’ve been covering Green Party conferences, the number of exhibitors, the number of delegates and the confidence of the delegates has been increasing. There were a lot of new faces this year, many but not all of them young. As Green Party activists south of the border nervously awaited results from the Irish General Election, the conference agenda in the Clayton Hotel in Belfast included encouraging video messages from the Green Party …

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LGBT issues: Northern Ireland party views – UPDATED

(Updated to include responses from the Ulster Unionist Party and People Before Profit) Research conducted by Ruth McCarthy highlights some stark differences between the parties contesting this years Westminster elections in Northern Ireland on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues. A series of questions were asked: 1a Does your party visibly support LGBTQ equality issues in your party manifesto, on your website and in election campaigning materials? If YES, please give examples. If NO, please state why. 1b Please give …

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Green Party Conference: growth, contrition, ambition & creating a surge in NI … for the common good

Membership of the Green Party in NI has doubled in the last six months and there was an increase in attendance at todays party conference in the centre of Belfast. In his conference speech, leader Steven Agnew welcomed new members and explained his priorities in the NI Assembly. For eight years there has been a campaign to see joined-up government in relation to children’s services. Too many failures have been made; too many opportunities wasted; and the lives of too …

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Green Party conference: Euro candidate Ross Brown sets out his stall and his journey #GPNI #GPNI14

The Green Party has come a long way. Over the years I’ve been popping into its annual conference, the number of delegates attending has steadily risen, their dress code has smartened and the professionalism of the organization has grown. Yet there is still an informality and an ability to crack a joke in the midst of resolutions and formal speeches. Steven Agnew spoke of targets for the May elections. The Greens are aiming for Ross Brown to receive more first …

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Alternative Ms Ulster at Parliament Buildings … words, aspirations, actions and no need for judges

Reclaim the Agenda is teaming up with Green Party NI to run an Alternative Ms Ulster event in Parliament Buildings on Saturday 8 March (International Women’s Day). Rather than being a beauty pageant, it’s billed as “an evening of celebration to highlight gender imbalance in public life in Northern Ireland [and] give women an opportunity to voice the changes they would like to see happen now and for the future”. The lack of women in Northern Irish Public life should …

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Two Es in Green – Education and Economy – and a pot-shot at Minister Poots

Today’s Green Party NI conference at Stranmillis College was dominated by education and the economy rather than environmental matters. Party leader Steven Agnew reckoned that the party’s policies on environmental matters were well established. In a series of motions during the morning private session, party delegates voted in favour of motions that called for “a single, publicly funded, secular education system”, supported “a system of secondary education based on community centre campuses” (as opposed to the use of academic selection) …

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Green Party NI conference, the visit of Alex Attwood, and criticism of MLAs who can’t read or believe the speeches written for them

Steven Agnew at gpni11 conference

I encountered a confidence within the Green Party in NI at Saturday’s conference. Their conference attendance was a tad smaller than the Workers Party event on the other side of Belfast. While the party was relieved to have Steven Agnew elected in Brian Wilson’s vacated seat (running against Wilson’s wife who was standing for Alliance) they were disappointed to only return three councillors in the local government elections. Speaking to @greenpartyni”s @StevenAgnew after their party conference (mp3) The party has …

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Green Party conference: nuclear power, environmental governance, and a visit from Minister Attwood

Update – post covering the content of the Green Party conference now published, including audio of the speeches and debates. Environmental governance and nuclear power … these nearly seem like clichéd themes for the Green Party NI to discuss at their annual conference next weekend. While the two leaders’ speeches will no doubt cover other aspects of Green Party policy, including economic and social issues, the main thrust of the agenda is focussed on traditional ‘green’ topics. SDLP Environment Minster …

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