Belfast Telegraph

Assembly hoping to resurrect Civic Forum

BY NOEL MCADAM

The Assembly has called on Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness to resurrect the defunct Civic Forum by the end of January.

But the SDLP's motion in the Assembly was supported by just 48 votes to 45.

It was supported by Sinn Fein, with NI21's two members and Green Party leader Steven Agnew making up the majority.

Proposing the motion, former Executive Minister Alex Attwood said there had been 500 submissions so far to the US diplomat Richard Haass' consultation on divisive issues. Mr Attwood also argued that this demonstrated that civic society wants to "comment on the failures and fault lines of politics and to propose remedies".

Megan Fearon of Sinn Fein added: "Any step taken to increase engagement must be viewed positively."

Ulster Unionist Leslie Cree, however, said the forum – which went into abeyance more than a decade ago – had cost half a million pounds for which there had been "very little to show for it".

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