Voluntary umbrella group urges Bradley to restore Stormont

Secretary of State Karen Bradley
Secretary of State Karen Bradley

An umbrella organisation for 1,100 community and voluntary organisations has called on Secretary of State Karen Bradley to restore decision-making at Stormont.

The Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA) said Brexit, education, health and public finances are at risk.

There has been no executive since January 2017, when Sinn Fein’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness resigned his position citing a range of reasons, includin the Renewable Heating Incentive scheme scandal.

“Future generations will not thank us for ducking these issues,” NICVA chief executive Seamus McAleavey told the BBC about the lack of government.

“The challenges we are facing as a society cannot be dealt with by a hands-off, ‘do nothing’ approach that relies on short-term fixes to long-term issues.”

He added: “It is NICVA’s belief that only a functioning government with decision-making ministers can bring an end to the deadlock

“While it continues, we are storing up hundreds of unmade decisions and ever greater problems that will be harder to deal with the longer they go un-tackled.

“The secretary of state needs to act today, to restore decision making in Northern Ireland.”

NICVA is surveying its 1,100-member organisations to find out how the absence of a functioning government is affecting them and their client bases.

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MLA said that as legislators, MLAs should be embarrassed that they have “abandoned our people for 589 days”.

“For our people to have been left for 589 days without a government is a truly sorry indictment of our politics here,” he said.

“A lot has been said about where the blame lies for our ongoing impasse. The focus must now lie in finding a solution.”