THE Alliance Party’s Chairperson has issued an impassioned plea to the people of North Down urging them to turn out in force – and vote ‘Yes’ in next Friday’s referendum.
Speaking to North Down Alliance Association members last night, Councillor Eileen Bell said it was “imperative” that a resounding ‘Yes’ vote be recorded on May 22.
Councillor Bell, who is an Alliance Party Constituency Representative for North Down, also insisted that any new assembly in Northern Ireland would have to respect “all traditions”.
The former Stormont Talks Delegate and Northern Ireland Forum member warned against the idea of a Nationalist and Unionist assembly. She said that any assembly would have to include representatives from all political perspectives.
“Over the past few weeks I have listened to certain politicians labelling the Mitchell accord as an accommodation between the ideologies of Nationalism and Unionism. However, this is completely untrue – it is an accommodation between all political perspectives,” she said.
Mrs. Bell added: “Any assembly in Northern Ireland will not work without the support of politicians who don’t consider themselves to be Nationalist or Unionist. It is important that all traditions are equally represented.
“If the agreement is endorsed by the community, then we will do our best to make sure that the government of Northern Ireland is accountable, democratic and representative. We must not have a return to the old system of Stormont.
“The agreement reached on Good Friday presents us with a unique opportunity to move forward. It is not a perfect agreement, but we must realise that there is no alternative.
“And even if some of the people don’t agree with the package, they still have time to change their minds and vote ‘Yes’. It can lead us to a better future and it can give us greater control over our own community.”