Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: Decision not to host Commonwealth Youth Games just one more example of price we pay for political failure

Editor's Viewpoint

There will be great disappointment that Northern Ireland will not host the 2021 Commonwealth Youth Games, which would have showcased our young talent and our long-proven ability to stage big events.

The Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council (NIGC) claims the Civil Service decided that the funding required did not represent value for money. People are equally entitled to ask if the vast sums spent on a dormant Stormont are also value for money.

There are accusations that the Secretary of State is using these kinds of cases to underline that our politicians should be at Stormont to make these decisions. Karen Bradley may dispute this, but the fact remains that there were no politicians up on the Hill to decide whether we should host these games or not.

Ulster Unionist MLA Mike Nesbitt, chair of the all-party group on sport and recreation, said: "This is about political failure."

He had no doubt that if an Executive was in place there would be backing for the event.

The blame game will continue, as it does over many other issues while the Stormont stand-off continues. There are many examples of this already, ranging from Brexit and legacy issues, to education and health, including the appalling situation at the Dunmurry Manor care home.

All of these important subjects are sliding into a dark abyss while the well-paid MLAs simply look on. The biggest losers are the ordinary people on all sides, and in this case the losers include our young sports stars, and future Commonwealth Games competitors, as well as the general population. The only surprising element is the remarkable patience of our people in allowing this politically and democratically unhealthy situation to continue.

However, it is certain that as such cases pile up, even the unusual forbearance of the people will start to crumble. And it is the people who put the politicians into positions of power which, at the moment, they are cynically refusing to exercise.

Belfast Telegraph

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