Taking a stand over Stormont inaction

Joanne Ross


Joanne Ross



A LARGE crowd attended a rally in Banbridge to protest against the Stormont stalemate.

Crowds also gathered on Tuesday evening (28 August) in Newry’s St Christopher’s Park and Warrenpoint square to show their frustration over the lack of political leadership.

‘Stop monkeying around!’ was the message from Mandy Cromie and Karen Gibson from Dromore. 

The province-wide protest called #WeDeserveBetter was spearheaded by Enniskillen man, Dylan Quinn.

He said he wanted to do something to get politicians to sit up and listen and around 17 towns had signed up for the peaceful, cross-community campaign.

On Tuesday evening it was 589 days since devolved government in Northern Ireland collapsed.

And on the day of the protest, Northern Ireland became the world record holders for the longest-running democracy without a government.

Banbridge man Paul Scappaticci and local woman Tracy Duggan were the key organisers for the Newry Street demonstration.

Speaking to The Outlook after the rally, Paul says he was encouraged by the good turnout.

People were also asked to bring a number between 1-589 to highlight the numbers of days a government has not been in place.

He said: “We had a couple of hundred people at the protest and the majority of people that were there on Tuesday night were local. We also had a couple from Belfast too after their protest was cancelled due to the fire in the Primark building.

“It was good to see so many locals and kids with home-made banners and balloons. It was a peaceful, colourful protest which is exactly what we wanted.

“We had a lot of positive comments from people and Karen Mooney read a poem called ‘We Deserve Better’ and that was lovely.”

Paul says he thinks the province-wide campaign did have a good effect as it made politicians sit up and listen.

“We achieved our goal to highlight the ridiculous situation, but it is not going to stop there.

“We have other plans in the pipeline to continue with the campaign – but nothing as yet has been confirmed,” he added.

Adam, Deanne, Zoe and Brian Fitzsimons stood firm with their placards.

Paul says the Facebook page dedicated to the protest will remain open for now and he is hopeful for further developments soon.

“It has been a challenging experience and I suppose the biggest thing has been getting the message out there and getting everyone involved.

“The protest has been a real talking point within the media and it was covered on both the local and national news. But it won’t be stopping here and we plan very much to continue with the campaign.”

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