Ulster Unionist Party meet church leaders to discuss concerns with a continued lack of Executive

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Ulster Unionist Party meet church leaders to discuss concerns with a continued lack of Executive

A delegation from the Ulster Unionist Party met today with local church leaders to discuss the need for urgent restoration of good governance in Northern Ireland.

The delegation, which included party leader Doug Beattie, MC MLA, Party Chair Jill Macauley and Chair of the Ulster Unionist Councillors Association, David Taylor, engaged with the church leaders on a range of topics, including the increasing failures of local services, increasing financial hardship amongst a growing percentage of our population and growing anger at the lack of a functioning government.

Speaking after the meeting, Doug Beattie said,

“I want to thank the church leaders, both for their time and for the frankness of their discussion. It was heartening to see that churches across Northern Ireland share so many of the concerns we as a party have been voicing since February 2022.

“The issues raised around the sense of despair seen across Northern Ireland due to the failure to form a government at Stormont, heightened by the growing pressures on services and worsening financial hardship for more and more families, painted a very bleak picture.

“We highlighted our continued desire to return to Stormont and work from within the Assembly to bring about the changes needed to the Windsor Framework, while providing the much-needed leadership and governance that our people are looking for.

“This desire was echoed by all present. It is very clear that the experiences being reported through our churches are that there is no wish within communities to support any continued refusal to form an Executive and a real need to get Stormont back to work.

“We made our commitment that we would continue to press at every opportunity the urgency of bringing back the institutions and focussing on addressing the unacceptable hardships so many living in Northern Ireland face daily.”

Chair of the Ulster Unionist Councillors Association, Councillor David Taylor, added,

“The issues raised by the churches today echo exactly what my colleagues across all eleven councils hear from constituents. People are suffering, services are being run into the ground due to lack of funding and support, and there is a growing sense of anger and despair that the blockage to get Stormont up and running cannot be resolved.

“The commitment shown by our church leaders in assisting our most excluded and needy is an example that should be seriously considered by anyone who believes that keeping our government in stasis is beneficial. Every day we have no Executive at Stormont sees more and more of our people suffer.“  

UUP Chairperson, Jill Macauley concluded,

“The discussion today was most welcome, and while frustrating in recognition of just how broken our society has become, it gave me hope that a corner could be turned. The voices shared with us by our church leaders are the voices of real people, our constituents who are angry and frustrated but also afraid.

They fear how much worse things will become if we enter another winter with no government. This week’s terrible flooding aftermath has just proven how much Northern Ireland needs our Executive back actually delivering for our communities rather than offering empty words.

“I am proud that my party continue to stand against those who offer only anger and negativity. We will continue to voice the sensible options, the options that offer support and relief to those most suffering.

“It was welcome today to hear from such a wide selection of churches that we are not alone in wishing to make Northern Ireland work.”