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Alliance is in no rush for the honey pot

Like some of your recent correspondents, I agree that the Assembly and its Executive are far from perfect, but people in Northern Ireland have expressed a strong desire for devolution.

Alliance has saved the Assembly twice - when the SDLP Deputy First Minister resigned and again when the UUP lost its sectarian head-count in the Assembly.

A cynic might well say let it go, but 'medical' advice suggested that a radical intervention might save its life. After three sets of First Ministers and Deputy First Ministers, the bigger parties couldn't produce agreement on one of the fundamental foundations of a stable, devolved region.

Alliance did not rush in with "unprincipled eagerness" towards the ministerial car and the "absolute power" implied by indicating that, in the present circumstances, Alliance would nominate someone for the post of Minister of Justice.

Two years ago Alliance was suggested as a suitable source of a candidate who would attract cross-community support.

If Alliance desperately wanted position with no power, then that was the time to say "Yes. And, by the way, where is my big desk and even bigger car?"

Instead, Alliance has worked with all parties, shared with them all the thinking and has developed a series of plans for developing policing and justice within the context of a Shared Future, which the main parties paid lip-service to, but did not progress.

Only when Alliance forced the pace and called its special meeting did the First Minister and Deputy First Minister agree to the Alliance proposals and give various undertakings towards ensuring the future sustainability of the minister's post within the Shared Future parameters.

Alliance has worked to solve a problem that others couldn't or wouldn't do. They did not rush to the honey pot.

CLLR TOM EKIN (Alliance)

Belfast City Council

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