Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Green Party will Protect Public Services

Green Party Lagan Valley candidate Conor Quinn;
Green Party NI Leader Steven Agnew;
Green Party Lisburn City Council candidate Luke Robinson.
The Green Party has emphasised that the protection of local, public services is a key element of its Assembly Manifesto. Speaking at the party’s manifesto launch Lagan Valley Green Party Candidate, Conor Quinn, stated that health and education would be protected under the Green Party’s plans. “The Assembly has limited revenue raising powers so this election campaign is about the tough choices that must be made in the context of the current budgetary cuts,” explained Mr Quinn. “The Green Party will protect the health budget and ensure that there is no rise in university fees. We have taken a critical look at the allocation for new roads projects and believe £600m can be released over the next four years, while still protecting the roads maintenance budget. The additional resources will also be used to fund a Northern Ireland insulation scheme under our green jobs programme.”

Mr Quinn also outlined what he believes makes the Green Party different from other political parties: “Green politics is clean politics. We are the only party that does not take donations from companies and we publish all our personal donors on our website. Stormont is not working, but a Green MLA in the Assembly will work for reform, honest politics and transparency. Only the Green Party has a vision for a fairer and sustainable Northern Ireland,” he concluded.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Conor Quinn Discusses Green Party Manifesto

Conor Quinn talks to Alan from the famous Alan in Belfast blogsite.

Conor Quinn, Green Party #ae11 #le11 #lagv11 from Alan in Belfast on Vimeo.

The full blog article can be found on Slugger O'Toole.

Further coverage of the manifesto launch can be found on the BBCUTV, and the Belfast Telegraph websites.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Green Party NI Launches Manifesto: Economy for People and Planet

The Green Party in Northern Ireland today launched its manifesto ahead of next month’s Assembly and Council elections.

The party is fielding 22 candidates in total, including six Assembly candidates, in North Down, South Down, East Belfast, South Belfast, Lagan Valley and East Antrim.

The key message in the campaign is ‘Economy for People and Planet’ which encompasses the party’s desire to champion policies which are benchmarked against those three key areas.

Green Party Leader and North Down Assembly candidate Steven Agnew said: “Resources are stretched and we have to prioritise spending on areas that meet a number of policy objectives.

“There is no sense in squandering money on projects that may be good economically but environmentally damaging or pushing environmental policies that are not good for people. The Green Party benchmarks all its policies on whether they are good for the economy, good for people and good for the environment.

“In the last Assembly with one MLA the Green Party was able to get cross-party support for the ambitious Green New Deal programme.  If fully implemented the Green New Deal will provide thousands of jobs while helping to tackle fuel poverty and combat climate change.

“It is essential that there is a Green Party presence in the next Assembly to ensure the vision of the Green New Deal is realised.

“The Green Party did not support the cuts budget as it will see our public sector decimated and result in massive job losses across the public sector.

“We will continue to defend vital public services and oppose plans to increase fees for students that would see our young people burdened with crippling debt – an unacceptable price for university education which benefits our whole society.

“In this manifesto we outline how we can minimise the impact of the cuts and target investment to drive job creation in Northern Ireland.”

In the manifesto, the Green Party in Northern Ireland is focusing on the grass-roots issues that are currently dominating the political agenda, outlining strategies for the economy, health, education, transport, food and agriculture and political reform as well as environmental concerns.

“The Green Party enters these elections in better shape than ever having matured and developed with experience in the Assembly.  Our European election result showed our vote had trebled in the space of five years.  In these elections we are looking to translate that growth of support into seats in the Assembly and in local councils,” continued Mr Agnew.

“We have young candidates that can bring a breath of fresh air to Northern Ireland politics and the experience and expertise of Green Parties across the globe to draw upon.

“While others dwell in the past, it is the Green Party that has the vision for a brighter future for everyone in Northern Ireland.”

Monday, 11 April 2011

Jobs Central to Greens' Election Message

Lagan Valley Green Party Candidate for the Assembly Election, Conor Quinn, has highlighted that job creation is central to the Green Party’s policies. “The Green Party was the first political party to champion the concept of a Green New Deal for Northern Ireland” explained Mr Quinn. “The Green New Deal is about creating employment through the opportunities afforded by renewable energy technologies, promotion of local food and eco-tourism. Up to 50,000 jobs could be created in Northern Ireland with a concerted effort by the new Executive in these areas. An example of a specific programme would a Northern Ireland home insulation scheme. This would see all of Northern Ireland’s social and private housing stock upgraded to the latest standards of cavity wall, loft and window insulation. Such a scheme would create jobs and help householders reduce their energy bills. The spin-off benefits for improved health and the reduction in fuel poverty are obvious. This is exactly what the Green Party is about; we believe that environmental, social and economic factors are linked. Investment in a Green New Deal for Northern Ireland is a win-win opportunity for our people, the economy and the environment and I will promote it vigorously if elected to the Assembly.”

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Northern Ireland stares into the abyss again

Northern Ireland stares into the abyss again today. A huge bomb was discovered in a van beneath a fly-over on the A1 outside Newry yesterday. Police suspect the device was intended for a town centre somewhere and that, if it had reached its destination, it could have exploded with all the deadly force of the Omagh bomb 13 years ago. So tonight, we are all thankful for good police work and extremely lucky.

Those responsible for the device have not yet come forward. Neither has anybody declared responsibility for the murder of PC Ronan Kerr earlier this week, although 3 people have been arrested in relation to that crime.

Dissident Republicans are widely being blamed and there are a few of these groups that could have been responsible. Whoever it was, there seems to be no indication they have listened to the public outpouring of horror and condemnation that followed the murder of the policeman. Their campaign goes on, and we can probably expect it to intensify as the election approaches and the Queen prepares to visit Dublin in May.

Although the bomb failed to reach its destination, it did its job in other ways: it has struck fear into Northern Ireland yet again. The silence of these ruthless killers adds a new dimension to the terror they are trying to instil. In the old days of the IRA, the people of Northern Ireland knew who they were dealing with. But we are now faced with some menacing rogue element that listens to nobody, talks to nobody, just kills. We don't know who they are, what they are trying to achieve, how much ammunition they have and what they are capable of. The discovery of a huge arms cache, including machine guns, was linked to one of the arrests in the week. The scale of the find indicates that there is either some source of weaponry the terrorists are using abroad, or that the IRA did not decommision all of their weapons as promised.

At the moment, we live in great uncertainty and, it seems, we are all potential victims.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Lagan Valley Greens Campaign for Steven Agnew in North Down

The Lagan Valley Greens were out on the campaign trail on Saturday morning, helping out in the Seahill area of Holywood, which is a part of the North Down constituency for the Stormont Assembly.

Steven Agnew, leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland, will be standing in this constituency, hoping to succeed Green Party MLA Brian Wilson, who is standing down at the election on 5th May.

It was great to see Peter Emerson, one of the founding fathers of the Green movement, helping out on the campaign trail. In 1981 he was a co-founder of the Ecology Party, the forerunner for today's Green Party.

Left to right: Luke Robinson (Lagan Valley Greens), Peter Emerson, Laura Thompson, Steven Agnew, Conor Quinn (Lagan Valley Greens)
Also there, but not in the picture: Paul Roberts, Joanne Dunlop

Sunday, 3 April 2011

There are no words low enough to describe the murderers of PC Ronan Kerr, killed by a bomb placed underneath his car yesterday in Omagh.

We can only hope that whoever was responsible is found and brought to account for their actions very rapidly.

If, by some small chance, anybody with responsibility should read this, let us tell you that this act will achieve nothing. It speaks for nobody in Northern Ireland. In fact, it will serve only to strengthen the resolve of the people who work tirelessly for peace and democracy in this country.

Our sympathy goes to those, especially his family, who knew and loved the man.