Green Party leaders from across the UK have vowed to resist the Conservative led government’s spending cuts at the English and Welsh Greens’ annual conference.
Steven Agnew, leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland, attended the event in Cardiff, at which he met with counterparts Caroline Lucas MP (England), Patrick Harvie MSP (Scotland) and Jake Griffiths (Wales) to discuss opposition to cuts and the further development of a Green alternative.
The four leaders agreed reliance on outside investment will not resolve the present financial crisis is and that a sustainable economy must be built from the ground up by supporting local businesses.
Mr Agnew said: “We need to invest in Northern Ireland to grow our economy from the ground up and the Green New Deal provides an excellent platform to do this. We want to create jobs and protect public services so that our local economy can recover.
“A slash and burn policy from Westminster will do nothing to stimulate Northern Ireland’s economy and political leaders must use the local Assembly to protect and promote our interests.
“Across the UK, we see parties that used to claim to be centre-left happily implementing the cuts – only the Greens are ready to set out an alternative based on addressing inequalities in our society rather than targeting the working and middle classes to pay for the greed of multi-national business.”
Caroline Lucas, elected to the House of Commons as the first Green MP at last year’s general election, urged the voters of Northern Ireland to send a strong Green delegation to the new Assembly to ensure their interests are represented against the influence of corporations and the banking industry.
South Belfast is one of the constituencies where a Green candidate will be on the ballot paper – local community worker Clare Bailey has been chosen to contest the constituency.
Clare Bailey said: “People want an alternative the failed greedy politics of the past where profit went before people. Caroline Lucas is the only Green in Parliament, but has become the strongest voice against the Conservative agenda at Westminster. Increasing the number of Green MLAs at Stormont will help us do the same in Northern Ireland.
“If elected on 5 May, I and other Green Party representatives will stand up to the cuts and create a fairer, healthier and greener society at the same time.”