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Visit by Two Ministers to the Politics Society


Visit by the Minister for Finance and Personnel and the Minister for Environment

A variety of issues were discussed during this meeting of the Politics Society. Having two Ministers with very different points of view enabled a diverse and lively debate, showing two angles on the topics discussed. 

The meeting began with a question from the floor, questioning whether or not an official opposition would improve the efficiency of the assembly. Mr Attwood agreed and stated that the SDLP, are in favour of an opposition and should in fact be part of one. Mr Attwood said “it is the next phase in the development of our democracy”. 

Mr Wilson also agreed, however pointed out that it would be much more difficult to effect proposals in the Assembly without a ministerial seat. 

Both ministers made reference to whether or not we should look back to the past. Mr Attwood’s response was that we must address our past and tie up unfinished business; whereas Mr Wilson stated that he did not want to drag another generation into the past. 

The case of the John Lewis store being cancelled was put to the ministers; Mr Attwood responded, saying that he believed that the store would have cost jobs, rather than create them. Mr Wilson conveyed his dismay at the John Lewis decision, stating that he feels the planning system in Northern Ireland needs urgent reform. 

A key question asked by the floor was whether or not the Ministers believe that Northern Ireland politics is dominated by two political parties. Mr Wilson agreed, but also added that smaller parties can be an effective thorn in the side of the larger parties.  

Both Ministers agreed that they must work together to ensure that the government is effective and efficient.

Sam Baker Chair Politics Society

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