Monthly Archives: May 2016

Lunn thanks Lagan Valley voters

Newly elected Alliance Assembly member Trevor Lunn has thanked voters across Lagan Valley for their continued support.Trevor Lunn said, ‘Once again I feel very privileged to have been selected by thousands of voters across Lagan Valley to represent them in the Assembly. The strength of my mandate shows there is support for a progressive party that wants to move Northern Ireland forward. We do not need to resort to scare tactics, but have shown we can take a principled stand on controversial issues that are important to many people.

“I thank the voters of Lagan Valley and pledge I will work for all sections of this community to the best of my ability. As the parties enter negotiations to develop a programme for government, the Alliance Party team will argue strongly for objectives that can deliver our core policies to achieve greater integration of services that will better serve the people.

“At the local level, my busy constituency office will continue to help people deal with the issues impacting on their daily lives, such as welfare benefits, unemployment and housing. These are the real issues the new Assembly must address.

“I would also like to thank my family, constituency staff and election team, who made my re-election possible.”

TrevorLunnreelected

Following the announcement that Trevor Lunn was the second to be elected in Lagan Valley L-R Cllr Amanda Grehan, Myra Brown, Cllr Owen Gawith, Trevor Lunn MLA, Brian Dornan (election agent), Laureen Lunn, Cllr Aaron McIntyre & Gretta Thompson

 

 

Alliance legislative priorities for new mandate

Dictionary Series : Legislation

Dictionary Series : Legislation

Alliance are the only main party to have unveiled their legislative priorities for the new Assembly term. Our legislative programme, which contains commitments to bring a Single Equality Bill, Equal Marriage Bill and an Animal Welfare Bill among others, would help correct the lack of progress in many areas by the previous Executive.  The Assembly is often criticised for a lack of movement on and discussion of real legislation. However with this legislative programme, Alliance believes the next Assembly can hit the ground running with proper business that delivers for all the people of Northern Ireland. We are already far behind the rest of the UK in terms of equality and other laws, and are in danger of falling even further behind if we do not see some serious movement soon.

Bills such as a proposed single equality one would better reflect the diversity of multiple identities within Northern Ireland, while a marriage equality Bill with robust protections for faith groups would move us into the 21st Century, and an animal welfare Bill would help defend some of the most vulnerable creatures in our society.

 

Alliance’s legislative priorities –

1. Single Equality Bill

This Bill will harmonise existing equality and anti-discrimination measures and update and strengthen equality provisions. Our Act would also revise Fair Employment monitoring to better reflect the diversity of mixed and multiple identities within Northern Ireland.

2. Marriage (Same-sex couples) Bill
This Bill will extend civil marriage provisions to same sex couples, provided that robust protections are provided through legislation to protect faith groups and religious celebrants who do not wish to marry same-sex couples.

3. Integrated Education Bill

This Bill will provide a greater basis for the further development of integrated education and will implement those parts of our nine-point plan for integrated education.

4. Climate Change Bill

This Bill will develop a climate change framework for Northern Ireland, with a clear ‘road map’ for implementation. This would include binding and stringent carbon emissions targets for the Northern Ireland Executive.

5. Environmental Protection Bill

This Bill will update environmental regulation and enforcement, including establishing an independent Environmental Protection Agency.

6. Animal Welfare Bill
This Bill will include provisions that prohibit wild animals in circuses, the hunting of animals with dogs, the use of electronic dog collars and the use of snares. It will also better regulating the sale of puppies and kittens.

7. Access to Justice Bill

This Bill will deliver reforms flowing from the Access to Justice Review (Pt II) and the judicially-led Review of Civil and Family Justice, as well as new Compensation arrangements.

8. Sentencing Bill
This Bill will implement reforms flowing from the planned review of the penal policy, and the replacement of current custodial orders and community disposals in youth justice cases.

9. Adoption Bill
This Bill will provide a long overdue update of Adoption Law in Northern Ireland by ensuring uniformity across statutory agencies setting clear standards in terms of quality and putting in place eligibility criteria reflecting the norms of modern society.

10. Private Renting Bill
This Bill will improve the regulation of the private rented sector, focusing on increasing security of tenure, improving standards in poorer homes and reducing up-front fees.

Progress on combating animal cruelty must continue

Alliance Assembly candidate Trevor Lunn has said the good progress made recently combating animal cruelty must continue.

Trevor Lunn said: “In recent times, several high profile court cases have highlighted the issue of animal cruelty and neglect. These inexcusable acts of cruelty against defenceless animals have both sickened and angered people right across our community.

“The Alliance Party has always prioritised animal welfare and our party leader and Justice Minister, David Ford, has recently done important work to protect animals. His Justice (No 2) Bill, increased the maximum penalty for serious cases of animal cruelty to five years and also allows the Director of Public Prosecutions to challenge unduly lenient sentences for animal cruelty.

“As we applaud these important changes, much work remains. Alliance believes we should ban the use of wild animals in circuses, and also reduce and better regulate necessary animal testing. We would also advocate increasing the powers of local authorities to deal with issues like horse abandonment.

“The area of animal ownership should be better regulated and we believe cats should be micro-chipped and registered as dogs are. Tighter regulation of the selling of pets would help protect the animals and ensure purchasers are dealt with honestly.

“Alliance believes that by better protecting animals, our society can show itself to be compassionate and caring.”

alliance-animal-cruelty

Northern Ireland falling behind on equality

Trevor Lunn MLAAlliance Assembly candidate Trevor Lunn has criticised the lack of progress on equality issues.

Trevor Lunn said; “During the last term, the Assembly failed to fulfil its responsibilities on a range of equality issues, leaving Northern Ireland behind the rest of the UK.

“Alliance believes that a Single Equality Act should be a priority for the new Executive following next month’s election. The Act would harmonise existing equality and anti-discrimination measures and update and strengthen equality provisions. It would also revise fair employment monitoring to better reflect the diversity of the mixed and multiple identities that makes Northern Ireland such a vibrant society.

“Through inaction in the Office of the First and deputy First Minister, we have fallen behind in our protection of those from the LGBT community, while also failing on age discrimination legislation. While an updated racial equality strategy was finally published, we need to see legislation strengthened to protect newcomers who may be targeted or discriminated against. The introduction of the Equality Act (2010) in Great Britain means that in certain areas our legislation lags behind best practice.

“Alliance believes equality should be at the heart of the new programme for government, to show citizens from every community and background that they are valued and their rights will be protected.”

DUP inaction means new health minister’s inbox already filling up

Trevor Lunn MLA

Trevor Lunn
Lagan Valley

Alliance Assembly candidate for Lagan Valley, Trevor Lunn, has said that because the current DUP health minister has avoided hard decisions, the inbox for the new health minister is already filling up.

Trevor Lunn said: “We have the unacceptable situation in Northern Ireland where our junior doctors have been left not knowing if the health minister is going to impose the new contracts that have led to industrial action in England. Health is a devolved issue, and the administrations in Scotland and Wales have decided not to follow England in penalising this invaluable group of health workers.

“Our current DUP health minister has refused to make a decision, preferring to leave it until after the election for his successor. This inaction is seriously impacting on morale amongst the junior doctors and has the potential to lead to some leaving Northern Ireland for other areas that may value their skills more than here.

“We also have the situation where the Northern Ireland branch of the BMA is calling for funding for GPs to be increased in line with what has been agreed in England. Current funding for GPs in Northern Ireland is about 6% of the health budget, whereas in England it is over 10% of the health budget. If we do not fund GP practices adequately we could have a situation where some practices may have to close. This will disproportionately affect rural areas, where it has proven difficult to replace retiring GPs.

“Last October the health minister set up a working group to look at how patients can be better served by GPs. The report from this group, the Review of GP led Primary Care was published in March, but it has been sitting on a shelf in the minister’s office with no decisions taken. The incoming health minister will have some urgent decisions to take as soon as they step into the office.”