Tuesday, 28 May 2019
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
I take this opportunity to reflect on the past four days of polls and elections, especially in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK. Along with my fellow Senators, I wish to take the opportunity to congratulate all those candidates who were successful and commiserate with all those who were unsuccessful in either the council or European Parliament elections. We are in changing times and we are witnessing a seismic shift from the more recognised voting patterns from an intelligent electorate who have sent clear messages to all the parties.They do not want ambiguity, mixed messages or negativity and gloom; neither do they want to see entrenched positions being taken based on history and rhetoric. They want a clear manifesto and clearly defined objectives. They want positivity and solutions to problems. They want people who are prepared to take on local, national and international challenges by working with others for the greater good. Most of all, they want change. This was highlighted more than ever yesterday north of the Border when Naomi Long was elected as the first MEP who did not define herself as either a unionist or a nationalist. In a province where for decades we have focused on voting to keep people out of office based on party politics, rather than on voting to put people in, the tide may be turning. At the count yesterday Diana Dodds of the DUP was returned first, with Martina Anderson of Sinn Féin who had received the most first preferences and Naomi Long of the Alliance Party who had captured more votes than any other candidate taking the second and third seats. I congratulate all of them and it must be noted that they are all women.