Confidence in devolution can’t be limited to one issue, as Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has done in his threat to collapse the institutions

A letter from Councillor Brian Pope:

Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 10:57 am
Letter to the editor

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has threatened to pull down Stormont and said the NI Protocol is undermining confidence in devolution, but how can we define this confidence?

Confidence, generally, is a mysterious commodity. One minute we seem to have it in abundance and the next it seems to melt away like a Mr Whippy on a scorching hot day.

However, maybe we can boost our self-confidence by consulting an expert or by considering the three steps below.

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The first was magnificently demonstrated by the Tyrone GAA team in their victory in the All-Ireland final and by Emma Raducanu in her amazing victory over Leylah Fernandez in the US Open tennis championship. This is to excel at the things we do best or love the most, whether this is in sport or anything else.

The second step involves the image that we hold of ourselves in our mind. We need to create a positive picture of ourselves, possibly as a successful, healthy and helpful person to boost our confidence.

The final step is linked to how we view others. If we look for the good in other people, then this reflects the good in ourselves. Like a young swan seeing its reflection for the first time and realising how they have grown and matured.

But can we use these same steps to define confidence in something as complex as Northern Irish devolution?

If we did, we must consider the bigger picture as devolution has many aspects and affects many lives. Confidence in such an institution cannot be limited to one issue, as Sir Jeffrey has done in his threat to collapse the institutions.

If we considered confidence in devolution in a similar way to our self-confidence, everything we decide would enhance our strengths and natural abilities. It would improve the image we hold of ourselves and that is portrayed to the outside world. Especially important for encouraging inward investment.

Finally, despite all of Stormont’s shortcomings - like that young swan - maybe through devolution we have been able to see the good in other people and from that have seen a greater good in ourselves.

Brian Pope, Councillor, Alliance Party Group Leader, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council

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