O'Neill Says New Assembly And Executive Must Deliver

SDLP South Down Assembly candidate Councillor Eamonn O’Neill has called for the incoming Assembly to deliver for the people. He said,  “On 5th May the public will have a chance to fundamentally reshape the Executive, and change how politics works for the people, where we can guarantee civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities for all our citizens, and resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation. “The two parties who have been in the Office of the First and deputy First Minister are right to point to the stability of the Executive and Assembly as evidence of change.  But the real change which has taken place since the earlier Assemblies is that those two parties have finally now committed to making the institutions work. That’s why the institutions are now stable. But stability does not equal delivery.  And the next Executive and Assembly must deliver. “We are facing an economic crisis. Overall unemployment is at a 13-year-high.  One in five of our young people (aged 18 to 24 years) are now unemployed. The final budget from the parties within OFMDFM, aided and abetted by Alliance, failed to identify significant and realistic new revenue streams, cut capital investment across the Executive, and committed to a spending plan which includes £240million over four years that the Finance Minister knows he, and his successor, does not have. [caption id="attachment_21086" align="alignleft" width="280" caption="South Down Assembly candidate Down District Councillor Eamonn O'Neill has said Stormont must now deliver to the people. "][/caption] “That is not good government. The OFMDFM’s own officials have admitted that only 55% of the key goals and commitments in the last Executive’s Programme for Government 2008-2011 have either been completed, are in progress, or have been ‘green-lighted’. That represents a failure to deliver. “Responsibility for that failure lies in the failed leadership of the two parties within OFMDFM. “Over the last two years the SDLP has produced economic proposals which identified the ability to make £1.5 billion in efficiency savings in the public sector.  We also identified ways of generating a further £400 million from new revenue streams, efficiencies and capital receipts to fund new spending and support our absolute priorities. “In our latest proposals, ‘Creating jobs, building prosperity’, we have identified an extra £1 billion pounds of funding for building new schools, technology infrastructure, Green New Deal requirements and roads through revisiting the Reform and Reinvestment Initiative. We understand that proposals like this involve considerable persuasion and detailed negotiation. Those are two things that the SDLP are good at. “The SDLP did not need to be convinced of the importance of building trust between parties. We did not need to be persuaded that a process of reconciliation would be required in order to achieve the unity of the people. “That is in the DNA of our party. “The SDLP supports a reduction in the number of MLAs to 96.  We also support a reshaping of Executive departments to ensure more coherent policy decisions are made in relevant sectors.  That reshaping would help the Executive to better meet the major social and economic challenges facing people here. We have nothing to fear from political reform.  We are in favour of better government to deliver better outcomes for all the people.  As long as there is a convincing argument for such a result then political reform is desirable. “The people want and need the Assembly and Executive to deliver. But that will require a change of leadership within the Executive. A new leadership that can deliver a future that is not simply equal and separate, but a future that is equal and united.  United in purpose and determination.  United in building sustainable economic prosperity.  Determined to make this society fair and just for all. We must build trust, reconciliation and unity of the people of Ireland. “Only through striving to deliver those outcomes can we hope to truly unite the people on this island. I am glad that we have already had extremely positive meetings with the Taoiseach and Tanaiste on our plans for increased all-Ireland co-operation on a range of issues. The SDLP led the way on power-sharing.  We led the way on policing. “If the Executive and Assembly are to deliver we must lead the way again,”  added Councillor O’Neill.]]>