The Victoria constituency of Belfast City Council is the latest to receive a visit from Green Party activists.
Local council candidate Ross Campbell and fellow party members found high levels of disillusionment with the established parties as they canvassed in the Island ward ahead of May’s local government and Assembly elections.
Concern was also expressed about problems caused by all day parking in the area, while the disturbance to everyday life caused by the proximity of Belfast City Airport was apparent.
Ross Campbell commented: “It is no surprise that people in the Island ward should feel disenchanted with the established parties, which often seem more interested in refighting the battles of the past and working to benefit their developer funders than in making a difference to their constituents’ lives.
“I would urge anyone who longs for a change from politics as usual to make sure they vote for it. The people of East Belfast know as well as anyone that voting can make a difference, having given Peter Robinson his marching orders in last year’s general election. It is vital that they send a similar message to the big parties in 2011.”
Issues raised and what the Green Party is doing:
Issue: Politicians may start out with good intentions, but they all end up doing what big business wants.
What the Greens are doing: The Green Party differs from the established parties in Northern Ireland in that it does not accept corporate donations. Recently, it became the first political party in the province to publicly name its major donors. Voters can therefore be sure that if they elect a Green, he or she will work in the interests of constituents, not corporate funders.
Issue: All day parking by commuters blocks access to the local GP practice and causes a hazard for children using the play area.
What the Greens are doing: The Green Party believes outdoor space in residential areas should be for residents. The party would invest in and give priority to public transport to reduce commuting by private car and reopen consultation on residents’ parking permit schemes where demand exists.
Issue: No jobs for young people.
What the Greens are doing: The Green Party put the concept of a Green New Deal on the agenda in Northern Ireland and continues to campaign for investment in increased energy efficiency in existing housing stock and exploitation of the province’s renewable energy resources, which could result in the creation of 33,000 jobs. Plans for a wind turbine construction site at Belfast harbour, with 300 permanent posts, must only be the starting point.
Issue: Proposed increase in university fees.
What the Greens are doing: The Green Party is opposed to any further increase in tuition fees or cuts to the higher and further education budget. The party’s manifesto will outline an alternative approach to higher education funding.
Issue: Aircraft noise.
What the Greens are doing: Green Party MLA Brian Wilson and leader Steven Agnew have consistently stood alongside residents affected by noise from Belfast City Airport. The party is calling for the restoration of the cap on passenger numbers at the airport, opposes any runway extension and insists residents must be fully consulted on any proposed changes to operating conditions. A sustainable transport policy should not require any further airport expansions in Northern Ireland.