DUP and Sinn Féin have achieved nothing

Julia Kee.
Julia Kee.

Few of us would have imagined that we would be contesting another Assembly election less than 12 months after the last one.

The question that many voters will quite rightly be asking themselves is what has the DUP and Sinn Féin Executive provided for Northern Ireland over their ten years in Stormont Castle.

I decided to join the Ulster Unionist Party six years ago at a time when I was struggling to see what Stormont was doing for our city.

I have been born, raised and have lived and worked here. My father was from Sheriffs Mountain and my mother is from Irish Street.

I went to Foyle and Londonderry College and Magee University and have a degree in Social Policy. I have worked in the Community and Voluntary sector for 8 years and I’m currently employed in Tullyally as a Development worker.

My entry into political activism was driven by feeling I wasn’t helping by simply standing on the side-lines and just moaning. I knew unionism in the city lacked quality representation. William Hay had taken himself off the floor of the Assembly and committees by accepting the Speakers role. We were left without the unionist voice which we clearly needed.

The fact that the people of the City’s call for major investment in infrastructure, job creation, education and our health service has not changed throughout devolution is a product of poor representation.

I can see why people have got fed up with Stormont. Scandal after scandal has dragged its reputation into the sewer.

The move by the Ulster Unionist Party to go into Opposition, where they were joined by the SDLP, has been a huge step forward in normalising politics and forcing the Executive to up its game.

We want to offer an alternative to the arrogance and the incompetence that has characterised the last ten years with the DUP and Sinn Fein at the helm. In the tenth year of their rule we even see the whiff of corruption.

This election, the Ulster Unionist Party is offering a real fresh start. For Northern Ireland, and for our city. I want our voice to be heard loud and clear in the Assembly. Unionism deserves better. I want to work with those willing to share space and who are capable of respect and mutual trust.

There are members of the two parties of power who are desperate to deflect from the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal or any of the litany of failures of their last ten years in government.

Just last week the Ulster Unionist Party revealed that the Minister for Education had failed to allocated £47million of money the Treasury had given him for shared education projects. That means it will be lost to us.

How many schools and projects in this City could have benefitted from this money? It is an absolute disgrace that the DUP and Sinn Féin expect you to tolerate this level of ineptitude.

This election will be the first time in the history of Northern Ireland that people will have the chance to vote the Government back in or choose to give parties of the Opposition a chance to deliver better.

It is obscene to think that £85,000 will go up in smoke every single day between now and the election because of the Renewable Heat Incentive.

I’m disgusted that you are having to go to the ballot box without being armed with the full facts over the cause of this election.

The thought of what that money, that is now going to waste, could do for Foyle makes me very angry. I am fed up with the incompetence and arrogance of the DUP and Sinn Fein because it has delivered nothing for our community.

Some may think that this election is a foregone conclusion. You may think that there is little point in voting as the same outcome is inevitable.

I implore you to think again. Consider that 45 per cent of our population did not vote last time.

Think about how those people could turn politics in this country on its head. Every single vote for the Ulster Unionist Party is a vote for change and for better days for our City.