Belfast Telegraph

The local government and European elections are two of the most important for decades

These elections are two of the most important elections for decades
These elections are two of the most important elections for decades

By Steven Agnew

These elections are two of the most important elections for decades.

The changes in the organisation of councils will impact on everyone and the European elections will be one of the closest fought in years.

This is a time of change: local councils in Northern Ireland are about to undergo radical restructuring.

We must seize this unique opportunity to ensure that local politics is changed too, and changed for the better.

The Green Party in Northern Ireland is a local party with a global vision.

We stand for transparent, active democracy and for social justice and equality in an inclusive, non-sectarian society.

We believe in clean politics in a clean environment – that's why we are the only party in the Northern Ireland Assembly that does not accept corporate donations. We publish our accounts online for public scrutiny. We believe the citizens of Northern Ireland deserve to know who funds local politics because without transparency there is no democracy.

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We believe in councils that listen and councillors who work not for one or another section of society, but for the common good – for everyone.

Europe can seem a little distant at times and it is easy to forget the influence it has on all our lives. The laws it passes and the rules it adopts affect all of us, every single day: and usually for the better.

Whether it’s setting air quality rules, international climate change policy, business regulations, job creation priorities, or energy generation methods, the European Parliament has a say – and who our citizens vote to represent them in the EU’s only democratically-elected institution makes a real difference.

The Greens are strong in Europe and we make up one of the largest voting blocks. Our MEPs bring experience and policies based on strong principles of democracy and fairness for the common good.

Green MEPs have capped bankers’ bonuses and called for reforms of the banking system to ensure it works for all of us – not just a few bankers at the top.

We have delivered a ‘youth guarantee’ – a promise of a job or training place for every unemployed young person that wants one and have shaped the EU’s farming and fisheries policies – banning the wasteful practice of ‘dumping’ dead fish at sea, and won key votes on climate change policy to ensure that the UK adopts a target on delivering new renewable energy projects – and the jobs that go with them.

This is why a vote on Thursday matters – it’s a chance for the people of Northern Ireland to choose the kind of future they want.

My vision for Northern Ireland is a cleaner, fairer and more inclusive society for everyone.

For it is only through social unity and solidarity that we can all participate in delivering a better future for Northern Ireland.

The Green Party is committed to working for a better quality of life in Northern Ireland.

Together we can create vibrant, socially inclusive communities that are economically dynamic and strong enough to adapt effectively to change.

We stand up for what matters – will you stand with us?​

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