Alliance: Stormont dithering is turning voters off politics
Dithering decision-makers, delays and division at Stormont are turning voters off politics, the new chairman of the Alliance Party has warned.
North Down councillor Andrew Muir was elected at the party's annual general meeting on Saturday, replacing Glyn Roberts.
Mr Muir is a member of Friends of the Earth, Amnesty International and the National Secular Society, and has been a councillor for the party since 2010.
"The politics of dither, delay, indecision and division are damaging public confidence in democracy evidenced by reducing voter turnout," he told the gathering in Newtownards.
"As a result of recent events and actions, Northern Ireland has been forced to choose between politics of hope, reconciliation and sharing over separation, intransigence and indecisiveness."
Mr Muir, who has a peace and conflict degree from the University of Ulster, said the promises of the Good Friday Agreement from 15 years ago remain to be fulfilled.
"The Alliance Party is determined to continue providing positive leadership to build a shared future and take the difficult decisions to build an open, welcoming and inclusive shared society," Mr Muir said.
"The new beginning promised within the Good Friday Agreement remains as necessary today as it was on Good Friday in 1998 and must be realised to meet the hopes and desires expressed by the overwhelming majority of people who voted in favour of the agreement 15 years ago, choosing 'Yes' over 'No'," he added.
"As someone born after the establishment of the Alliance Party, I am younger than Alliance but remember the background against which the party was founded.
"Whilst levels of violence have thankfully reduced, battle for peace, reconciliation and resolution of the difficult issues which have divided our society for decades remains."