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MLA News

  • Paula Bradshaw20172
    20 March

    Alliance Health Spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has expressed concern at the ongoing failure to establish a Child Death Overview Panel in Northern Ireland.

    Panels have existed in current form in England since 2013 to review information on unexpected child deaths, with the objective of preventing further deaths.

  • Kellie Armstrong
    18 March

    Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong has said the death of three teenagers following an incident at a hotel in Cookstown is "heart-breaking".

    Two 17-year-olds and a 16-year-old died following reports of a crush among young people waiting to get into a St Patrick's Day party at the Greenvale Hotel. A number of others have also been treated in hospital.

    "This is absolutely heart-breaking news to wake up to this morning," said Ms Armstrong.

    "My thoughts are with the loved ones of those who died, as will the thoughts of everyone across Northern Ireland today. As the mother of a teenager the same age, I can't even begin to imagine the pain and suffering they must be going through. I hope support is also given to their friends and anyone who was at the event.

    "While any investigation into this tragedy will be at an early stage, with the reports of a crush, I would hope the Health and Safety Executive would be involved to consider if crowd control and access to and from the venue was properly managed.

    "If anyone who was there and is in possession of photographs or video, I would ask them to pass it to police so what happened can be established and we can ensure nothing similar to this awful disaster ever happens again."

  • 14 March
    Alliance Leader Naomi Long MLA has paid tribute to the families of the Bloody Sunday victims after the Public Prosecution Service said there was sufficient evidence to prosecute a former British soldier over the killing of two people.

    'Soldier F' will face charges for the murders of James Wray and William McKinney, as well as charges for the attempted murders of Patrick O'Donnell, Joseph Friel, Joe Mahon and Michael Quinn in Derry-Londonderry on January 30, 1972.

    "Today will be a day of very mixed emotions for the families who lost loved ones on Bloody Sunday, and for all of those injured or bereaved in the Troubles," said Mrs Long.

    "My thoughts are with the families, who have faced a long journey over decades in the pursuit of truth and justice, but the journey is not yet over.

  • Stephen Farry profile pic 1
    13 March

    Alliance Brexit spokesperson Stephen Farry MLA has said the rejection of a no deal Brexit by the House of Commons must be followed by the positive alternative of a People's Vote.

    Dr Farry was speaking after MPs voted to reject the UK leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement.

    "Voting to take a no deal Brexit off the table is necessary but not sufficient," he said.

    "A no deal outcome would be a disaster for the UK as a whole, but a catastrophe for Northern Ireland, so it is right to rule it out. It would be madness to go over the cliff-edge, and frankly every day that passes without clarity on this creates more and more problems for business community and civil society, and has implications for jobs and livelihoods.

    "However, delay for delay's sake, and in particular to cover up the inability of the House of Commons to agree on anything, doesn't really take us too far forward. There is an expectation and indeed a requirement from the EU that there will either be approval of the Withdrawal Agreement, including the backstop, or a clear change in approach.

    "For Alliance, the clearest and most democratic way forward is a People's Vote, including both the Prime Minister's deal and the Remain option. This needs to be tested in Parliament as a matter of urgency.

    "I am appalled DUP MPs voted to keep no deal on the table this evening. This is utterly reckless and irresponsible. The notion of keeping this back for some future negotiation is entirely self-defeating. A no deal harms the UK far more and the UK has no leverage. Dressing up the so-called Malthouse Compromise as an alternative way forward is the mother of all delusions. It is not a runner and is just a no deal outcome under a different cloak."
  • Chris Lyttle20171
    13 March
    Alliance Education spokesperson Chris Lyttle MLA has welcomed a challenge by a UN committee for the UK Government to close the childcare gap in Northern Ireland.

    The UN's Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) recently stated childcare costs here 'remain excessive,' which 'constitutes an obstacle for women to enter and progress in the workplace'. Among other suggestions, it recommends the availability of affordable and accessible childcare for Northern Ireland.

    "A recent report by Employers for Childcare showed childcare costs were second only to mortgage for families here, exceeding groceries, heating, transport and other household costs," said Mr Lyttle.

    "Affordable, quality childcare is vital to the development of children, while simultaneously helping families access employment and training opportunities to obtain skills and contribute to our economy. But still we see some families struggle to access it or make quality childcare work for them.

    "There remains a Childcare Strategy awaiting Ministerial sign-off, but due to the lack of an Executive it is simply gathering dust instead of helping those who need it. This challenge by the UN is to the UK Government but the parties blocking the restoration of the Assembly need to realise they could also help improve the situation by taking the steps which could ensure quality childcare provision which is accessible and affordable for all."
  • Stephen Farry profile pic 2
    13 March

    Alliance Brexit spokesperson Stephen Farry MLA has said UK Government plans for no tariffs or checks on goods entering Northern Ireland from the Republic in a no deal Brexit are neither tenable nor sustainable.

    The plans, published by the UK Government, for no checks or controls on the border, would see Irish and other EU products entering the rest of the UK then incurring tariffs and checks.

    "These plans are neither tenable nor sustainable under WTO rules, and in terms of economic sense," said Dr Farry.

    "It breaches the non-discrimination principle between Most Favoured Nations that governs world trade, outside of formal free trade agreements and customs unions. While everyone seemingly wants to avoid a hard border in Ireland, this has to be done on a sound, legal basis.

    "These plans are not that, particularly for an advanced economy in a globalised world. At best, they amount to a temporary fix. Given the misplaced fuss of the DUP and ERG around the backstop and the notion of Northern Ireland being treated differently, the irony of these proposals seeing a different approach around customs will not be lost on anyone.

    "These proposals will also bring significant economic distortions and consequences, including formal displacement of trade and economic activity, and indeed smuggling.

  • Naomi Long
    12 March

    A People's Vote needs to be tested in Parliament as a matter of urgency, Alliance Leader Naomi Long has said, after the Prime Minister's proposed Brexit Withdrawal Agreement was rejected by MPs.

    Mrs Long said the Government and Parliament, which voted 391-242 against Theresa May's deal, was now "hopelessly divided and in a shambles" over Brexit.

    "For Alliance, the backstop was the bottom line to protect the particular circumstances of Northern Ireland, and we were prepared to be pragmatic towards it. But now, it seems the only paths are to see a catastrophic no deal outcome, the Government working across the House of Commons to find a softer version of Brexit, or reconsidering Brexit in its entirety," she said.

    "In the short run, taking a no deal off the table must be the immediate priority. In itself and without a clear plan, this resolves nothing. The House of Commons is good at saying what it is against, but can't manage to give a clear answer on what it is for. But the UK is too close to the cliff-edge and every day of uncertainty sees more and more economic and social damage.

    "The clearest, most coherent and most democratic route through this impasse lies with a People's Vote, including both the Prime Minister's deal and the Remain option. This needs to be tested in Parliament as a matter of urgency."

  • Stephen Farry profile pic 1
    12 March

    North Down Alliance MLA Stephen Farry has welcomed the additional places allocated to a number of local post-primary schools in order to better manage the transfer process this year, but stressed again the importance of long-term reform.

    He said: "This is a sensible and pragmatic step to address immediate demographic pressures in certain areas across Northern Ireland, including notably North Down and Ards.

  • Paula Bradshaw profile pic 2
    12 March

    South Belfast MLA Paula Bradshaw has said the case for action by the Secretary of State to enable access to abortion for women in Northern Ireland is unanswerable.

    Ms Bradshaw was speaking after the publication of the concluding observations on the eighth periodic report of the UK from the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

  • Stephen Farry profile pic 2
    12 March

    A hard border after Brexit will only be avoided through sufficient north-south customs and regulatory alignment, Alliance Brexit spokesperson Stephen Farry MLA has said.

    Dr Farry was speaking after the UK Government claimed it had secured changes to the proposed Withdrawal Agreement.

    "These further UK and EU agreements are clarification of what has already been agreed in the Withdrawal Agreement, and a reinforcement of the use of good faith endeavours to find a way forward that doesn't see the backstop invoked.

    "To an extent, the EU is indulging the exploration of a wide range of alternative arrangements, but the bottom line continues to be the only means to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland is to have sufficient customs and regulatory alignment north and south. This can be achieved either through the entire UK remaining in the Customs Union and Single Market, or Northern Ireland alone.

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