Robin Swann, Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, called for a unionism "not for sections or factions, but for all" for his Queen's Policy Engagement Leader's Lecture on Thursday 1 November.
Mr Swann, noting the “immense” contribution of Queen’s to life here, took the opportunity to reflect on where Northern Ireland had come from - a deeply divided society - and where it might go in the future.
Recalling the 1998 Agreement's commitment to partnerhsip, Mr Swann noted the challenges faced by all in restoring the Assembly and Executive.
"Power sharing is something that must be built on trust, it must be built on respect and it must be built on fairness in sharing space, sharing power and sharing responsibility", said Mr Swann, calling for a return to the original intention of the Belfast Agreement - power sharing.
Mr Swann touched on the difficulties posed by Brexit, the RHI Inquiry, and other issues, and called for a reform of aspects of the institutions such as the Petition of Concern mechanism, to make sure the institutions were ready to be restored.
Calling on the Secretary of State to instigate talks, Mr Swann added: "if it’s a case that she truly does not think there is any prospect of restoring devolution in the near future then she needs to end the charade. Appoint UK Government Ministers and move to direct rule".
Mr Swann added a call for a Unionism "made up of all classes and religions and sexual orientations", adding that sectarianism, racism and homophobia are not tenets of unionism.
A video of the event will be posted on the Queen's University Youtube channel shortly.
Register for other talks in this series at the Policy Engagement Eventbrite page here.
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