DUP launches Assembly Election Candidates

The Democratic Unionist Party has announced its team of forty-four candidates for the forthcoming Northern Ireland Assembly election. DUP Leader, Rt. Hon. Peter Robinson MLA said that the DUP will be taking a positive message to the people of Northern Ireland.  Speaking today, Mr. Robinson said:

“The DUP is offering a very strong slate of candidates throughout Northern Ireland in this crucial Assembly election. I am particularly pleased that we have a strong mix of experienced public representatives and new candidates to offer the electorate. The emergence of new candidates is reflective of the way in which the DUP is expanding to bring new people in to front-line representation. They all have very strong roots in their communities and a capacity to really influence things for the better.

On 5th May voters will have a choice to make. We can move forward and build on the progress of recent years or we can be dragged backwards to instability and conflict. We want to build on progress so far and ensure that Unionism retains its leadership role in the Executive. Every vote will be vital and we’ll be working hard to engage people who have never voted before or who feel elections don’t matter.

This election will be focused on the economy and which party can provide policies to steer us through the massive cuts being handed down to the Executive by the Conservative/Liberal Democrat government.  Despite the £4billion cuts to our budget, we are a low tax party and will be offering policies to keep household bills low whilst creating the conditions to help business flourish.

Our campaign will be positive and we will be offering people the chance to vote to keep Northern Ireland moving forward.”

Continue reading DUP launches Assembly Election Candidates

Commonwealth Day Gala Banquet to be held at Queen’s

The DUA, along with members of other student societies at Queen’s will be joining in celebration of International Commonwealth Day 2011 at a gala banquet to be held in the Great Hall. This is the first event of its kind at the university and we invite you to join us.

Monday 14th March 2011 at 7.30pm

In the Great Hall

Guest speakers:  Lord Rana, Honorary Consul for India (NI)

William Hay MLA, President of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (NI)

Join with leading members of civic society, including Peers and MPs, to celebrate the Commonwealth – “the family of nations”. The theme for Commonwealth Day 2011 is ‘Women as agents of change’

Student Price £20

To secure your place, please email us at: queensdua@hotmail.com

Strong DUP Team to Keep NI Moving Forward – Wilson

DUP East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson has addressed the Democratic Unionist’s North Down Association.  In the course of his remarks, Mr. Wilson said,

“Through strong, strategic and determined leadership the DUP has been able to move Northern Ireland forward into relative stability.  Whilst not everything is perfect, it should be noted that the Assembly is about to conclude its first full term of stable devolution in forty years.  This is a massive achievement in itself.

Decisions about Northern Ireland are now being made by people from Northern Ireland. Direct Rule Ministers had no allegiance to Northern Ireland.  They came in one or two days per week to implement strategies which may have worked in their English constituencies but were not the best approach for Northern Ireland.  Local solutions are best delivered by local people.

Many forget that previous attempts to get devolution off the ground failed.  In large part, this was due to weak leadership and rickety foundations. There was no united or strategic approach.  Decisions were not taken on the basis of what was right but rather on the basis of what was expedient. That was a shambolic approach.  The DUP ensured that devolution was restored on the solid foundation of democracy and support for the rule of law.  This was the first step and we must now continue building a better and stronger government.

I recognise that Stormont can be slow and there’s too much bickering. But just look at the problems between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives and that’s a voluntary coalition.  The DUP has always said this represented a fair deal but not a final destination.  We have proposed major reforms of the institutions and at St Andrews we established the Assembly & Executive Review Committee to take these matters forward.

Only a strong united DUP team can negotiate the changes required at Stormont.  Others are divided and without any workable or achievable strategy, whereas the DUP has realistic proposals which can normalise our structures of government.

We have too many departments, too many MLAs and too many QUANGOs.  It is cumbersome and bloated.  Not a good example to the private sector. Serious savings can be made by reforming the institutions but it goes much further than just savings, it would also help Stormont’s credibility in wider society. We can’t expect others to tighten their belts unless government it prepared to be an example of efficiency.

We need to keep Northern Ireland moving forward and that can be best achieved by a strong united DUP team working for Northern Ireland.”

University access should be based on ability to learn

DUP Employment and Learning spokesperson Jonathan Bell MLA has said access to university should be based on ability to learn. Speaking as the updated Stewart report was published he stated;

“We need a richly educated population not an educated rich.

The DUP is proud that Northern Ireland holds the British record for the greatest number of people from a less well-off background accessing university per head of population in the UK.

Northern Ireland will be best served when we balance the twin aims of ensuring and protecting access to university on the ability to learn while resourcing our British universities adequately to compete at the world class level.

I accept the thesis that those who out-educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow. It is vital that employment and learning remains at the heart of a jobs led economic recovery.

There is a great fear that Con-Lib coalition cuts will price working-class young people out of university places. The DUP has opposed such steps in Parliament and we will oppose such steps in Northern Ireland as well.”

Meeting with Equality Commissioner and new DUP Councillor Stephen McIlveen

DUA members heard a talk on Unionism and civil society at the February meeting of the association from former Queen’s student and Northern Ireland’s newest councillor, Mr. Stephen McIlveen. Stephen has recently been co-opted to Ards Borough Council to represent Newtownards DEA. He was also appointed as a commissioner last year to the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland.

In his address Stephen explained his role on the Equality Commission and spoke about the wider structure of quangos in Northern Ireland, particularly about how the Protestant/Unionist/Loyalist community is under-represented on many of them and stressed the importance of Unionist input to these organisations.

A discussion on this subject and other issues followed. Pictured below are some of those who attended with Cllr. McIlveen.

DUP is working to end the “brain drain”

East Antrim DUP MLA Alastair Ross will travel to Scotland tomorrow to participate in a debate on the future of Northern Ireland. The event will take place on Thursday evening at the University of Dundee, where Mr Ross studied for his Masters Degree in Political Science. Commenting ahead of the debate, Mr Ross said,

“The University of Dundee has always had a significant number of students from Northern Ireland, and whilst they will be keen to hear why their future lies in their home country, students from elsewhere in the UK and international students will also have the opportunity to ask questions on the DUP vision for the Province.

The reality for many students from Northern Ireland who studied in GB is that they never returned home, and instead their knowledge and expertise was lost. The ‘brain drain’ is an issue that we have sought to address by ensuring that we create the conditions that allow for economic investment, and as a result we can attract the kind of jobs to Northern Ireland that will attract our graduates home.

The event will also focus on how much Northern Ireland has benefited from devolution, and on what changes we would like to see in the structures at Stormont, so that we can move towards a more efficient and effective type of governance.

It is always important to engage with younger voters, and ensure that students from across the United Kingdom see what a positive future Northern Ireland can have.”