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Time for electorate to give Alliance a chance

MUCH though the current political crisis is directly attributable to the RHI debacle, the elephant in the room is, as always, sectarian politics - ie the entrenched voting pattern which will probably stymie any chance of progress from yet another Assembly election. But why should this be when a viable alternative is available?

One commentator said of the 2016 election: "Stormont's smaller parties stomped off to form its first official Opposition".

In the case of the Alliance Party, David Ford did not stomp off anywhere. He demanded some sort of assurances of progressive action before he would agree to continue the excellent service he had given as justice minister.

Let's just look at what those demands were:

1. Protocol on the use of the petition of concern, in line with its original intent;

2. Commitment to integrated education;

3. Tackling the legacy and ongoing impact of paramilitarism;

4. Additional skills investment, and;

5. Addressing economic and financial implications of a divided society.

No concession whatsoever on any of this was offered by DUP, or Sinn Fein, so Alliance went into Opposition.

Just examine the points listed above. Might progress on these lines not have helped to avoid the sort of impasse we now face?

If and when an election is now called, is it not time for the many citizens here, who constantly bemoan tribalism and sectarian politics, to take a serious look at the Alliance Party?

Nothing could give more hope of real change than a significant increase in Alliance MLAs under their new leader, Naomi Long.

DENIS LORETTO

London SE1

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