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Ineffective Stormont Executive has failed Northern Ireland utterly

Now the dust is settling on the election results and talks have started, the view from all sides is that the election was a full-throated shout for the return of the Government institutions. I am not so sure.

The mistake here is to conflate the existence of a functioning Executive and Assembly with delivering for its electorate. We need to reflect on what has been achieved over 10 years of political stop-go and bickering on the Hill.

We have the worst waiting lists and waiting times for healthcare in the UK and the long tale of underachievement in education continues, with around 40% of our young people leaving with minimum qualifications.

Our economy is bumping along the bottom of growth tables. While politicians cling to the rise in job figures, our productivity — the true measure of growth — remains one of the lowest in western Europe. There is no Brexit plan and less agreement on one.

Our communities are as divided as ever. Peace walls still abound. Orange parades, flagging and republican commemorations of dead terrorists remain an annual divisive ritual. Paramilitaries are increasing their influence.

The dissident republican threat continues to grow, while victims of the Troubles remain marginalised through political impasse.

Since when did the obsession with an Irish Language Act, or parades and flags, help our economy, put food on the table, or heal the sick?

This election, seen through the narrow prism of politics, had its winners and losers, but the real losers continue to be ordinary people, struggling to get by.

When you have two parties in government who are constitutionally, politically, economically and on social issues charging in opposite directions, what hope is there for effective government?


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