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MLA News

  • Naomi Long
    2 PM yesterday
    Alliance Leader Naomi Long has said it is now time for all local parties to release the names of their large donors after the DUP confirmed it received a sum of £425,000 for the Brexit campaign from a group of pro-union business people led by a Conservative party member.


    The money from the Constitutional Research Council was spent on pro-Brexit advertising throughout the UK. The group is chaired by Richard Cook, a former vice chairman of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, however, little other information appears to exist on it.

    Mrs Long said the DUP should now follow through and release the names of other donors to the party, which Alliance already does voluntarily.

    "While it is welcome the DUP were forced to make the move of revealing the donor in this instance, the information released brings little clarity to the situation, as the usual checks fail to reveal much information about the Constitutional Research Council.

    "The Brexit campaign sold voters a lie about the influence of faceless EU bureaucrats but now it appears faceless donors were pulling the strings of the campaign.

    "Any pretence security concerns were the only reason the DUP did not follow through on previous pre-election commitments in 2014 and 2016 to move to full transparency are exposed as the smokescreen they are, given the chair of this group was Scottish.

    "I therefore call on the DUP and every other party to do what Alliance already does and voluntarily reveal the names of the rest of their large donors now so the public can judge for themselves whether or not they are being influenced by those with deep pockets or are acting in the public interest."

  • Stewart Dickson profile pic 1
    12 PM yesterday
    Alliance East Antrim Assembly candidate Stewart Dickson has hit out at Precious Life after the organisation continued its campaign of harassment by placing a number of signs close to polling stations in the constituency.



    The signs contain the slogan 'A vote for Alliance is a vote for abortion'.


    "The posters erected by Precious Life contain lies," said Mr Dickson


    "Yet again, Precious Life are spreading more misinformation on Alliance. They are well aware abortion is a conscience issue for our party. Yet we have seen a relentless campaign against us and some candidates personally. Our East Belfast office was targeted by Precious Life protesters last week, with a personal attack on South Antrim candidate David Ford.


    "They used disgusting, anti-Semitic language in comparing him to Adolf Hitler, while spreading false information about the content of his Private Members' Bill on FFA. For an organisation to call themselves pro-life they appear to have little regard for the lives of Alliance candidates and our members of staff who they relentlessly harass and try to intimidate.


    "A campaign which is deliberately spreading misinformation is damaging their own pro-life movement in Northern Ireland. I would like to think Precious Life will stop their campaign of smears and provocation, but I have little hope they will.


    "We will not be intimidated or deterred by harassment from Precious Life. Abortion is a conscience issue for our party and the lies spread by Precious Life will not change our party policy or any member's individual views."

  • Chris Lyttle20171
    5 PM Thursday

    Alliance East Belfast Assembly candidate Chris Lyttle has expressed disappointment at the closure of a number of local First Trust banks.

    It follows the announcement 15 branches are to close this summer, half the total amount in Northern Ireland.

    "I was disappointed to hear of fifteen branches of First Trust banks closing in Northern Ireland," he said.

  • Naomi Long
    4 PM Thursday
    The DUP should refrain from any more stalling and publish the details of its Brexit donor, as well as other major donors to the party above the UK threshold, immediately, Alliance Leader Naomi Long has said.


    Mrs Long said claims by the DUP it was in talks with the Electoral Commission over releasing the information of a donor who donated an estimated £250,000 to the party to advertise in the Metro newspaper during the Brexit campaign were clearly nonsense.

    The Electoral Commission has stated it will release information tomorrow (Friday) on those who spent over £250,000 in the referendum, which is believed to include the DUP's mystery donor. However, East Belfast Assembly candidate Mrs Long said nothing was stopping them doing so voluntarily now.

    "The Electoral Commission have made it clear the claim Sir Jeffrey Donaldson was working through this with the organisation was bogus. The DUP are well aware thanks to legislation I secured as an MP, all single donors over £7,500 to local parties will eventually be revealed, backdated to January 2014.

    "Other parties talk before elections about donor transparency but their actions post-election do not match their pledges. The UUP has recently talked about revealing its large donors, yet only last month, its Councillors on Belfast City Council voted against doing just that. The DUP first committed to end donor secrecy in May 2014, restated it in their manifesto last May, yet they still refuse to do so. The SDLP likewise talk about being in favour of transparency yet fail to follow through and publish, whilst Sinn Fein claim to be transparent yet include no link to their returns on their website.

    "All parties were informed by the Electoral Commission to tell donors about this legislation, which the DUP should have already done. Alliance already voluntarily publishes all major donors. The DUP and others need to hurry up and do the same."

  • Fay Watson autism
    1 PM Thursday

    Alliance Mid-Ulster candidate Fay Watson has said progress on autism is a priority for the party, as she met with several organisations to review the issue.

    Ms Watson met with Autism NI and the National Autistic Society NI, where she was presented with their joint report 'Broken Promises'. The organisations are seeking the findings of the report to be taken onboard by future MLAs.

  • Stephen Farry profile pic 1
    5 PM Wednesday
    Alliance Policing Board representative Stephen Farry has said he is disgusted after a device exploded outside the home of a serving police officer in Londonderry


    The device detonated while army technical officers were trying to defuse it after its discovery under a car at Ardanlee, in the Culmore area of Derry this morning. A number of homes have been evacuated during the area.

    In a separate and unrelated incident, homes have been evacuated in Sion Mills in Co Tyrone after the discovery of another suspicious object.

  • Naomi Long
    10 AM Tuesday

    Alliance's Assembly manifesto is a vision for all the people of Northern Ireland, not just part of it, Leader Naomi Long has said.

    The East Belfast Assembly candidate was speaking as the party launched the document - entitled How to Change Northern Ireland for Good - today (Tuesday) at the Park Avenue Hotel in East Belfast.

    Mrs Long said the manifesto showcased the need to change things to make our politics work better, a desire she said has been repeated by people she has talked to on the campaign trail.

    "This manifesto highlights Alliance's desire for good Government, good relations, good prospects, good services and good leadership, steps which we believe need to happen to help move Northern Ireland forward.

    "There is evidence of a change in mood for many people. The public are sick and tired of corruption, cronyism and incompetence, and want the reforms necessary to create a health service that delivers, an education service that works and an economy that benefits everyone.

    "But a vote for Alliance is not simply a protest vote. As this manifesto shows, instead it is a vote for a party offering something positive, with a proven track record of leadership. For a party who has shown competence for Government, diligence in opposition and with a vision for all in Northern Ireland, not just some.

    "This is the chance to change things and change them for good. If people take the opportunity, they can make a difference."

  • Stephen Farry
    last Friday
    The challenge of Brexit needs to be discussed separate to the constitutional question, Alliance Brexit spokesperson Stephen Farry has told a major event.


    The Alliance Deputy Leader was speaking as part of the second meeting of the All-Island Civic Dialogue on Brexit in Dublin, which featured conversations between over 400 people from both jurisdictions on the island.

    "Brexit is the major challenge for Northern Ireland as a whole and for people of every background," said Dr Farry.

    "It is important we maximise every opportunity to engage with people right across the island. This forum gives us a scope to better understand the problems facing both north and south, and to articulate the particular challenges to Northern Ireland.

    "Alliance used the opportunity to highlight the importance of Special Status for this region. We must recognise there are too many features particular to us that mean without such a status, this region could become a major anomaly.

    "This has to be a pragmatic and practical process distinct from the constitutional question. We are keen to stress to other political parties and civil society we need to forge a strong cross-community consensus on doing what is best to protect the interests of all the people of Northern Ireland."

  • Chris Lyttle20171
    last Friday
    Alliance East Belfast Assembly candidate Chris Lyttle has called a move to allow some taxis to use bus and cycle lanes in the city centre a retrograde step.


    Mr Lyttle was speaking after the Department for Infrastructure announced the 12-week scheme. It will see the majority of taxis in the city allowed to use bus and cycle lanes in East and West Belfast, as well as the city centre.

    He said the news had come as a surprise.

    "These bus and cycle lanes are some of the only segregated inner city cycling infrastructure available to encourage safe cycling in Belfast. I and members of the All-Party Assembly Cycling Group met with the Infrastructure Minister in December and he gave no indication of this decision.

    "It is a retrograde step. Cyclists are among the most vulnerable road users and this policy contradicts the Executive Cycling Strategy, which was designed to promote sustainable transport and active travel, giving people the freedom to travel by bicycle for everyday journeys.

    "There is now an urgent need for Executive Ministers who will adequately invest in cycling and make delivery of the Belfast Bike Network Plan a priority if we are to achieve the multiple health, social and economic benefits of this sustainable and active travel.

    "We particularly need upgrading of the Comber Greenway and all routes into the city centre. Unless and until the Minister delivers a comprehensive network of segregated infrastructure for cyclists in Belfast, these bus and cycle lanes should be protected and marked for safe cycling."

  • David Ford profile pic 2
    last Thursday
    Alliance South Antrim candidate David Ford has said the RHI scandal is getting worse, as each day seems to cast new light on the potential for corruption and fraudulent claims.
    Mr Ford was speaking after the BBC reported it had a list of the claimants, which revealed a small number of companies registered as dormant have been claiming tens of thousands of pounds.

    He said there needed to be an urgent investigation.

    "What is potentially fraudulent is some of those claims seem to be for amounts beyond the capacity of the boilers in place. While we are now starting to see just how disastrous this scheme actually is, we could have been in a much better place if DUP Ministers had stepped up and carried out their role in an open, transparent and accountable way.

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