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Public seems to have no role in political institutions

Politics in Northern Ireland have become a private institution and there are parallels in the Republic, too.

The public seems to have no role to play in what are supposed to be democratic institutions.

Peace envoy Richard Haass was critical of the lack of public involvement in the process. He was critical that the public did not vote on the St Andrews Agreement and subsequent Stormont House Agreement. This oversight has brought about a huge involvement gap between the ordinary taxpayer/voter and their deadlocked representatives.

The public at large now see things very differently than their politicians, who watch it all degenerating into a ridiculous farce of political chess that is doing nothing for them in delivering better public services. Public services are just hanging on and will soon be critical, according to the Secretary of State Theresa Villiers.

Beyond the current impasse, bigger questions must be asked about what politics is really all about.

If politics in Northern Ireland is all about defending nationality, cultural identity and religion, then that is what is will always be about. Politicians cannot seriously claim to take their ministries seriously if they are sworn to political polarism and respective jingoism.

The carry-on of unionists blocking other Assembly members from taking their seats as ministers by rotating in and out of office to beat the seven-day deadline should not be allowed in the interest of democracy.


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