Thursday, 11 April 2013

Green Party launches online poll on 'civic conversation'

To mark the 15th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, The Green Party in Northern Ireland has launched an online poll to gauge public opinion on the best way for citizens to contribute to the future governance of Northern Ireland.

Green MLA and Party Leader Steven Agnew said: “We want people to have a real and meaningful stake in the future of Northern Ireland.

“We believe the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) is the peoples’ agreement, and as such if it is to be refreshed to made it fit for purpose 15 years after its initial inception, then the public must be included and allowed to practically contribute to its updating and reshaping.

“That is why the Green party in Northern Ireland is calling for a ‘civic conversation’.

“We have just launched an online poll to ask people whether they agree that there needs to be public engagement in the political process.

“This means providing formal structures for citizens to engage, discuss and then contribute their thoughts and opinions regarding the structures of governance in Northern Ireland.

“15 years after the GFA, various changes to the operations of the Northern Ireland Assembly have been or are currently proposed - such as a reduction in the number of MLAs, the introduction of a formal opposition and the removal of community designation.

“Recent events regarding the issue of flags and falling voter numbers clearly indicate that there is an increasing sense of public disengagement with local politics.

“Since our local Executive parties have failed to agree on a way forward, the Green Party believes there is now an opportunity to re-engage our citizens with local politics through the process of ‘civic conversation’.

“This means providing the space and structures for citizens to engage, discuss and then contribute their thoughts and opinions regarding the structures of governance for Northern Ireland.

“The GFA was endorsed by the people through a referendum - the Green Party believes that major changes should only be made to the Agreement with the people's consent.

“I urge people, regardless of their political affiliations, to use this poll, which can be found at http://www.stevenagnew.net/, to let us know if they want to see the setting up of a formal mechanism for a civic conversation.”

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