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Alliance will not be bullied in stand for openness

Published 01/04/2016

In response to a letter (Write Back, March 18) attacking Alliance over our desire to see full openness and transparency in politics, the irony was not lost that the author asked for their name and address not to be printed.

To answer some baseless accusations in it: Judith Cochrane actually came up with a proposal to hear evidence at the Stormont Nama inquiry after receiving assurances that it would protect the public interest, legal process and the integrity of the committee.

For the author to think an Alliance leaflet highlighting the failure of the UUP, SDLP, DUP and others on transparency issues in politics even comes close to a deliberately incendiary call to arms - as was secretly published by the unionist parties to whip up tension around the City Hall Union flag issue - is crass.

Alliance's material had nothing inflammatory about it and did not allege any wrongdoing, but rather dealt in facts, whereas the unionist leaflet was found (by an independent academic study) as having a "catalytic" impact in fanning the flames of loyalist fury. The only thing scurrilous is the comparison.

What is clear in this matter is Nuala McAllister and Alliance have spooked the UUP, DUP and SDLP in north Belfast. The latter have even admitted their lack of transparency is "fair comment", which in itself speaks volumes.

People want a new alternative, where those, like Nuala, who stand up for openness and transparency, are not bullied for their stance.

It's clear the unionist parties and the SDLP don't.

CLLR MICHAEL LONG (ALLIANCE)

Belfast City Council

Belfast Telegraph

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