DUP leading way in call for reforms
If recent history has taught us anything it should be that the people best-placed to defend the interests of Northern Ireland are the people of Northern Ireland.
Locally elected, locally accountable ministers are far more preferable than any direct rulers, who have no stake in Northern Ireland because they represent English or Welsh constituencies.
Those advocating the destruction of the NI Assembly and a return to direct rule should be very careful what they wish for.
As a Belfast councillor, I see every day the advantages of having a devolved administration.
Stronger relationships have been built with Government departments and the capacity to deliver better outcomes is increased in the context of devolution.
In a direct rule scenario, where the minister is only here for a few days a week, the establishment of such strong working relationships becomes a lot more difficult.
Devolution is far from perfect, but direct rule would be much, much worse. Because of the structures created by the UUP and others in 1998, government is slow, cumbersome and frustrating.
Those structures need reform as the DUP has been saying for years, but we need cross-party support. Other parties have come late to the idea of reform, let's see if they will follow through now.
ALDERMAN GUY SPENCE (DUP)
Belfast City Council