Castlereagh residents have an opportunity to demand a new approach to politics in May’s local election.
The Green Party this week launches its election campaign in the Borough with a promise to clean up politics and address vital issues neglected by the established parties.
Green candidates are standing in two council constituencies – Rebecca Volley in Castlereagh South and Martin Gregg in Castlereagh East.
Rebecca Volley said: “Green politics is clean politics – and Castlereagh desperately needs clean politics. Green Party councillors will ensure that financial interests are properly declared, that the tender process for the award of council contracts is transparent and that minutes are published more promptly so that residents can find out what their representatives are doing.
“Green councillors will also work to ensure development meets the needs of the community and does not harm the natural or built environment. We will give residents a voice in decisions on how public and open spaces should be used in the future, in particular how unused spaces can be made to benefit the community and nature.”
Martin Gregg believes the Green Party is the only party that can be depended upon to put voters, rather than funders, first in planning and other decisions.
Martin Gregg said: “I am particularly interested in environmental issues and reform of the planning system; especially in light of recent controversies involving our own Council members. The well publicised success over Knock Golf Club proves that local people do have the power to be heard even after wrong decisions have been made. The Green Party is about representing the proud people of Castlereagh rather than developers. I will be a voice for real people with real problems and ensure that the Council is held accountable to those that voted them in.
“One of the policies that attracted me to the Green Party is that it is the only political party which does not accept corporate donations.”
A key Green policy at local government level is investment in recycling services to ensure councils are equipped to meet progressively more demanding landfill reduction obligations, reducing ratepayers’ exposure to increasingly punitive landfill taxes and possible fines for missed targets.
Green Party leader Steven Agnew has welcomed the nomination of Rebecca Volley and Martin Gregg as the party’s candidates in Castlereagh.
Steven Agnew said: “The established parties are responsible for the low esteem in which politics is currently held, in Northern Ireland in general and Castlereagh in particular. They cannot be relied upon to bring transparency to party funding and decision making – the Green Party is committed to doing so.
“A vote for Rebecca or Martin is a vote for a candidate who will put their constituents, not their corporate funders, first. Disillusionment with the current system is understandable, but change will only come about if we vote for it.”
Facebook users can find out more about the Green Party’s Castlereagh candidates here.