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Belfast election results bring fresh opportunities

CHANGES: Director of Forbairt Feirste, Jake MacSiacais CHANGES: Director of Forbairt Feirste, Jake MacSiacais
By Staff Reporter

BY Jake MacSiacais, Director Forbairt Feirste

An open letter to all non-unionist councillors in Belfast:

THE new Council is now elected. As we face into the new mandate it is high time to effectively deliver on the long-promised aspiration of Belfast as a ‘Diverse City of Equals’.
The Gaeltacht Quarter Board has long engaged with Council but Council has failed, thus far, to break down the reluctance of some to embrace and promote the Gaeltacht Quarter as one of the vibrant, open and welcoming quarters of the city and as an asset for residents and tourists alike. Given the make-up of the new Council we would hope to see progress in this regard. Here are some points we would like you to consider.
– Unionists are now the smallest combined voting block in Council;
– Unionists can only muster 19 votes;
– That is 12 votes short of a majority;
– Unionists can no longer block the aspiration for Belfast as a Diverse City of Equals;
– No-one now needs to do deals with unionists in Belfast to deliver for citizens in a non-partisan way;
– Parties can now develop and promote fair and equitable policies, which are Section 75 compliant, without needing to seek unionist approval or unionist votes;
– Parties can garner working majorities without allowing Alliance to play the role of arbiter;
– The combined Alliance and unionist vote is 29, two votes short of a majority;
– If parties continue doing deals with unionism they must explain if it is to deliver on voters’ aspirations or for other more expedient reasons.

Combined Non-Unionist Strength with Alliance – 41 votes.
Sinn Féin 18
Alliance 10
SDLP 6
Greens 4
People Before Profit 3

Combined Non-Unionist Strength without Alliance 31 votes.
Sinn Féin 18
SDLP 6
Greens 4
People Before Profit 3

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