The Alliance Party of Northern Ireland Conference was held in Belfast on 4 March. It was the party’s first since the elections to Northern Ireland’s Assembly in May 2022, when the Party it made historic gains by more than doubling its number of MLAs and becoming the third-largest party in the Assembly.
Since then, the Assembly and the governing institutions have not functioned due to the largest Unionist party, the DUP, declining to enter into power sharing as required under the Good Friday Agreement, in protest against the Northern Ireland Protocol from Brexit.
Naomi Long MLA, the leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland, said that stable government was needed without excuses or delay and described the lack of reform to power-sharing as "condemning devolution to death by a thousand collapses".
Long said that Northern Ireland wants a stable functioning government without excuses or delay and warned a failure to change the power-sharing structures was "ruining people's lives and jeopardising the Good Friday Agreement", whose 25th anniversary will be marked in April.
“In this 25th anniversary of the Agreement, the fact that the institutions are suspended for at least the 3rd time, and the second time since 2017, is irrefutable evidence that real change is needed,” she said. Alliance's proposals for reform would enable power-sharing and “remove the right of any one party to deny the people of Northern Ireland a government. They allow those who wish to get on with the work of government to do so and those who refuse to sit it out if they choose. No-one is being excluded, unlike the current absurdity where everyone is.”
She said the party has a “real opportunity" to expand its number of seats across Northern Ireland at the Council elections on 18 May.
Photo credit: Alliance Party of Northern Ireland