Belfast Telegraph

Alliance is a cross-community party with a proud tradition of standing up for the rights of all people

 

I'm writing in response to David Collins, whose latest letter (Write Back, September 11) either highlights his genuine misunderstanding of the Alliance Party's core values or his desire to purposely misrepresent us.

I'm delighted to take this opportunity to answer his questions directly, a move which will only serve to show in action the kind of inclusive politics Alliance aspires to.

Firstly, let me address the constitutional question. Former MLA Anna Lo answered a journalist's question in an honest way (should all our elected representatives not aim to do this?). This was her own opinion and nothing to do with our status as a party. I'd put it back to Mr Collins that had a representative whose personal preference it is to maintain the Union been interviewed, would this be evidence of Alliance as a unionist party?

Secondly, when it comes to the Union flag, rather than support Sinn Fein, as the writer suggests, it is exactly the opposite. While Sinn Fein sought to remove the flag permanently, it was only through an Alliance amendment that it now flies on designated days, as in the rest of the UK.

Thirdly, over recent weeks, my colleague Paula Bradshaw MLA has been vocal in Alliance's support for comprehensive legislation for all minority languages, including to meet past obligations on the Irish language. Far from allying with one party, Paula has met all other party groups in the Assembly with a view to reaching an agreement acceptable to all those wanting to promote the rights of Irish and Ulster Scots.

I could close by listing the issues Alliance has worked with unionists to secure successful outcomes, but I fear that wouldn't suit the author's agenda, so I'll simply say, rather being in denial, I am proud to be a member of a cross-community party prepared to stand up for everyone, to be open, welcoming to all and a party that truly celebrates diversity.

Cllr Kate Nicholl (Alliance)

Belfast City Council

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