Public 'want politicians who are focused on finding solutions' says Naomi Long
In the last event of the AE22 Leader's Lecture series, the leader of the Alliance Party set out her future visioon for Northern Ireland
Ms Long addressed a range of significant challenges she believes Northern Ireland faces, including underfunding of public services, tight budget constraints, the need for sustainable economic growth, recovery from the pandemic, the effects of Brexit, the "spiralling cost of living" and the state of the health service.
"I'm not suggesting", said Ms Long, "that addressing any of those will be easy; or fully resolving all of them will be possible, certainly not within one mandate. We are politicians, not magicians. But I do believe that together we can start to address those issues".
Ms Long went on to set out her Party's plans for tackling a range of issues, including a call to change the institutional arrangements at Stormont. Speaking as a former civil engineer, she said: "In politics as in engineering, our structures need to be fit for purpose". While the Good Friday Agreement gave us an opportunity to stabilise the situation we were in, but today, in a much more diverse Northern Ireland, she suggested, it is time to dismantle the 'scaffolding', and create institutional structures that do not collapse on the decision of one of the two main parties to walk away.
Following her talk, Naomi Long took questions from the audience, moderated by Dr Joanne Murphy, Reader in Leadership and Organisational Change & the Co-Director of the Centre for Leadership, Ethics and Organisation (CLEO), Queens Management School.
For the full speech and the subsequent question and answer session, watch the recording here:
Naomi Long's Leader's Lecture, which had been postponed on a previous date, brings the series to a close.