Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

NI21 calls Northern Ireland Assembly 'embarrassing'

NI21, led by Basil McCrea, right, and John McCallister
NI21, led by Basil McCrea, right, and John McCallister

The co-founder of Northern Ireland's newest political party has called the Assembly an "embarrassment".

Deputy leader of NI21 John McCallister told an audience of young people that MLAs really need to "change the game".

The South Down MLA, whose Private Member's Bill would establish an opposition at Stormont, said: "We need to move to normal politics, the bread-and-butter stuff. Not the endless stuff about flags and parades.

"We are an embarrassment to the rest of the UK and Ireland."

His attack came at a Let's Talk Politics event at Belfast Metropolitan College at which around 100 students were allowed an electronic vote. Ninety-four of them agreed that Stormont does not adequately promote a shared future.

And 87 said our politicians were "not good leaders" – with two-thirds adding they did not think the flag issue was important. Students were asked which party they supported, and while the DUP and Sinn Fein were the most popular at the start of the discussion, the Green Party topped the poll at the end.

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