Leadership now needed in Northern Ireland
10 January 2020
Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Northern Ireland
The Leader of the Labour Party, Brendan Howlin TD, has said that the New Decade, New Approach deal represents a good basis for all parties in Northern Ireland to get the Stormont Assembly up and running again. He called on all sides to show leadership.
Brendan said: “It is clear that a lot of work has gone into making this new deal a sustainable compromise. I welcome the emphasis on keeping the Assembly operational even if there is a major disagreement between parties in government in future. People in Northern Ireland were abandoned by their own Executive at a crucial period, and it is right to make sure that can never happen again.
“I welcome the deal’s focus on health, education and providing jobs to reduce deprivation. I also welcome the introduction of greater transparency around special advisers and the use of public money. Northern Ireland has a great opportunity to be a bridge between the UK and the European Union, and it is time to modernise the Northern Ireland economy to reap the benefits of that.
“The proposals on Irish language and British identity are balanced and they should neither be a cause for worry, nor be an excuse by parties to refuse to return to work. The revised Petition of Concern mechanism will continue to safeguard issues of paramount concern to either political tradition, without being misused as a veto on social issues or other contentious policy matters.
“The challenge now is for all political parties to take up the mantle of responsibility again and to provide the people of Northern Ireland with better government and public services. All parties need to show leadership among their own communities for the greater good of Northern Ireland.”