Slugger event at John Hewitt Summer School: What’s good for the economy, good for the environment and good for people?

Slugger O’Toole returns to the John Hewitt International Summer School in Armagh next Wednesday evening (28 July at 7pm) with a panel discussion looking at the triangle between economy, environment and people. Is Northern Ireland keeping those three aspects in balance? Are we destroying people and the planet in the name of prosperity? Can we ensure that wellbeing, sustainability and justice benefit everyone? I’ll be joined by Steven Agnew, Dawn Purvis and Joanne Stuart to mull over what’s good for …

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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 leader calls on DUP MLAs to show courage & come out in favour of marriage equality

Green Party leader Steven Agnew has commented on Arlene Foster’s recent statements about using POCs to block marriage equality. “I am therefore calling on DUP MLAs to show courage, to be true to themselves, to risk alienating their family, friends and colleagues, and to “come out” in favour of marriage equality. Their party conference this weekend provides them with the perfect platform at which to do so.”

FAPP: The difference between one MLA parties and independents is what exactly?

What’s the difference between Jim Allister & John McCallister? Between Steven Agnew or Basil McCrea & Claire Sugden? The answer is about £25,600. That’s how much the NI Assembly’s ‘Financial Assistance for Political Parties’ scheme values a party at, one with even just 1 MLA. There are currently 18 independent members of Dáil Éireann, 11% of the entire house, often providing starkly liberated representation, generally free from the concerns of party politics. There are 2 independent members of the Northern …

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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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Agnew “The Children’s Bill demonstrates what politicians can achieve when they put aside their differences”

Green Party leader, Steven Agnew writes for us about his Childrens Bill currently before the Assembly It wasn’t long ago that I was debating legislation in the Assembly until the early hours of the morning. But as Stormont recovers from yet another crisis, after weeks of absentee ministers, Bills falling and the Assembly rising early due to a lack of business, it feels like an age since MLAs have engaged in anything meaningful. However, it isn’t all bad news. The …

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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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The dirtiest words in politics

The petition of concern was designed to protect minority rights in the Stormont Assembly. As former SDLP leader Mark Durkan explained “the petition of concern facility was put into the agreement to safeguard communal sensitivities and specifically to protect equality and human rights considerations”. Alliance MP Naomi Long pointed out that “the petition of concern was designed to offer protection to minorities within the assembly, where decisions of a sensitive nature risked being imposed upon them against their will.” Unfortunately …

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Financial (and other) chickens coming home to roost

An Ulster Unionist MLA once described Green Party leader Steven Agnew to me as a younger Jim Allister with longer hair and less talent. That has often looked harsh but maybe true. However Sam McBride in the News Letter has an excellent piece quoting Agnew on the more fundamental causes of the current financial crisis at Stormont: The North Down MLA said: “The fantasy they peddled was that you can get more services but pay less – that is simply …

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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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McCann meets….Steven Agnew MLA #gpniconf14

So, last week it was Alliance, this week it was the Green party’s chance to strut their stuff on the conference stage as they gathered in East Belfast yesterday. Just before his speech I caught up the party leader Steven Agnew MLA. I began by asking him whether he believed that his European candidate, Ross Brown could do as well as he in 2009; I hope so. When I stood I trebled the Green party’s vote from the previous election, starting …

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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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Fracking petition, debate and a cry of ‘liars and thieves’

No Fracking petition outside Parliament Buildings

A delegation of concerned residents – accompanied by the Grim Reaper – travelled to Stormont this morning to present a petition of over 2800 signatures opposed to ‘fracking’ ahead of Green Party MLA Steven Agnew’s motion proposing a moratorium in Northern Ireland on the gas drilling process. Update – Members of the Assembly backed a call for a moratorium on onshore and offshore exploration and the withdrawal of licences by 49 votes to 30, though the BBC notes that “Enterprise …

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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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