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'I'm happy life is different for my daughters'

By Laurence White

Doctor Clive Patterson believes the optimism that made him name his first child Kerrie Hope has only been partially realised.

He is saddened by the political impasse that has emerged over the past 18 months since the collapse of the power-sharing administration.

“There is no doubt that the hopes we all had have decreased in recent times. It seems that we are back to the same tribal politics of the 70s, 80s and 90s,” he said.

The GP, who practises in Lisburn, finds the lack of a functioning Assembly very frustrating when it comes to his job.

“I feel I almost have to say to every patient who comes through our doors — don’t shoot the messenger.

“Patients need to be seen by specialists or given specialist treatment, but I have to tell them that the waiting lists are long in spite of the fact that there is money available to help them.

“Sadly that is the way it is as an outcome of the political stalemate.

“There doesn’t seem to be a real political basis for the stalemate.

“To us on the outside it appears to be more personal than political”.

However, he still thinks the Agreement delivered on some of its promises.

“I grew up in Coleraine, so didn’t have much direct experience of the multiple atrocities that people living in, say, Belfast would have endured.

“But now there is a different atmosphere. I suppose it is a new normal, more along the lines of what people experience in other parts of the world.

“Our daughters have grown up in a society which has seen nice buildings, nice hotels and restaurants open up. When I was growing up we didn’t even have a McDonald’s. They wouldn’t come to Belfast at that time. Now the new facilities are a change, and a change for the better. Life is very different for our daughters and for that I’m grateful.”

So can hope be resurrected from the ashes of the failed devolved institutions?

He says: “I think that is what everyone is hoping and praying for. We will have to wait and see.”

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