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Politicians are stumbling block to a 'normal' society

Published 30/11/2015

Having read the Fresh Start document, three things struck me.

The bland words describing - yet again - what improvements can be made, but without real progress being made.

Capital projects, such as the emergency services training college and A5 upgrade, have made no progress in years - except to the consultants' bank accounts.

Petitions of concern are still a block to real progress. The two opposing dictatorial blocks - DUP and Sinn Fein - will continue to stop the hard decisions being made - even though there are people who support both parties in elections, but would not support their stances on some of the contentious issues in the modern world. The simple answer is to have the opportunity for free votes, with, say, a 75% majority required.

Then there is another round of peace wall removals, with another dose of money mentioned (£60m this time).

We do have communities who want barriers to normal living removed. The last Programme for Government (PfG), presumably written and agreed by the DUP and Sinn Fein, had a goal, but didn't seem to have any coherent plan, leadership, or funding. Indeed, the progress to date has been minimal - maybe even going backwards.

It appears that local politicians are often the foot-draggers. No wonder they are held in low regard by many in the electorate.

We will never be a "normal" society as long as the politicians are at loggerheads, have a rear-view mirror take on going into the 21st century and do not give positive progressive leadership.

As this happens, we will continue to lose many of our youngest and brightest to emigration and Northern Ireland will continue to be an underdeveloped backwater.

TOM EKIN

Belfast

Belfast Telegraph

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