The thoughts and prayers of all in the Northern Ireland Liberal Democrats will be with Lord Alderdice and his brother David and the whole Alderdice family circle today as they grieve for their father.
I remember the Rev. David Alderdice, when he came into school to do Assembly when he was Minister of Wellington Street Presbyterian Church, Ballymena. He was always very caring and welcoming when I was at his house with other friends from Ballymena.
The DUP’s speaker was Jim Wells who said that when it came to his party’s policy on international aid and development he was it, that whatever he said went. Most of the speakers mentioned the fact that the Assembly was looking at doing a project in Uganda, along the lines that the Scottish Parliament has done with Malawi in the past, because even though at present there is no remit for aid in the Assembly’s powers there is a desire to do so.
However, the DUP’s spokesman and it would appear policy maker on international aid and development came unstuck at the first question. The Rainbow Project’s Education Equality Officer Gavin Boyd asked a question that as many of the candidates mentioned Uganda how they felt the Assembly could reconcile giving aid or development funding to Uganda or the 50 African states where being gay is illegal.
A couple of the party representatives did come up with a response, however when it came to Mr Wells his response which is in full was,
I have no position on that question.
So the man who only a few minutes earlier said that he was the guy in his party to form and lead policy on any issue there was about international aid had no position on giving to countries that had a poor record on LGBT rights.
Of course this is hardly that surprising as the DUP don’t really have positive positions on homophobia in Northern Ireland or for that matter within their own party.
Michael Carchrie Campbell, chair of the Northern Ireland Liberal Democrats today urged support for the ICTU NI-organised assembly at Belfast City Hall tomorrow from 1pm to 1.15pm to show our publici abhorrence at the murder of PC Ronan Kerr.
I will be attending the assembly at Belfast City Hall at 1pm on Wednesday 6th April 2011 to show my abhorrence of the murder of PSNI Constable Ronan Kerr. The assembly is being organised by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions Northern Ireland.
I urge all members of the public to attend and let us all stand firm to show those responsible for Saturday’s atrocity and the many recent and ongoing security alerts across Northern Ireland that they are acting not in our name.
Reacting to the news that a 25 year old police officer has been killed in Omagh by a booby trap car bomb, local party chair, Michael Carchrie Campbell said:
I condemn utterly the actions today of the terrorists who have carried out this atrocity. They must be aware that the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland do not want us to go back to the days before the peace agreement. Together the rest of us in Northern Ireland must stand firm against this latest act of terrorism.
As Northern Ireland prepares to go to the polls to elect new councillors, new MLAs and to vote in the Referendum on the voting system for Parliament on May 5th, we are looking forward to a freer, fairer, and more open society, not one of fear and worry.My thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends, and colleagues of Ronan Kerr at this time and in the days to come.
I urge anyone with any information as to who is responsible for this outrage against the people of Northern Ireland to come forward and contact the Police Service of Northern Ireland on 0845 600 8000, or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Together with activists from Yes to Fairer Votes members of the Liberal Democrats in Northern Ireland will be attending the event at Belfast City Hall at 1pm.
Last May three of Belfast’s four MPs were elected on a minority mandate, without the support of a majority of their constituents. More than 70,000 votes were wasted, cast for a candidate who never stood a chance of representing their supporters.
Local party chair, Michael Carchrie Campbell said:
Today I am proud to be attending with party colleagues the event that shows that Belfast is joining fifty towns and cities across the country to help win an historic victory for all voters in the United Kingdom. It’s an argument we can’t afford to lose.
The choice in May is between change and business as usual. In Belfast the status quo is not an option.