ARE the two top political parties in the North afraid to take serious and risky decisions and is that why they haven't agreed on a Stormont government? It feels that way.
There are some very difficult decisions to be made and that is primarily why Sinn Féin and the DUP are backing out. The economic situation is dire everywhere in Western Europe. The case of Northern Ireland is no different. It is entirely up to you to think of Sinn Féin and DUP as a thankless duet to their voters, otherwise why have they shunned the principles of a mandatory coalition?
To go and seek votes from people who are busy with their daily punishing diaries and then ignore the mandate they give you is very serious neglect. There is no employer who wants you to just sit there having a laugh.
So, these two parties are very much afraid of implementing very difficult decisions. Austerity is a word they don't want to hear, we all don't want it! So they would rather let civil servants take the blame for anything happening since the mandatory coalition 2022 was blocked by one side.
We know very well that more than 90 per cent of schools in the North are segregated. Does that not clearly tell us something about the future of Northern Ireland? If we continue arming schools with sectarian identity, we cannot then pretend to act rationally when we want to solve very difficult post-conflict challenges. No-one is suggesting here that segregation of schools in Northern Ireland is there on unfounded basis. The reasons are obvious and historical. Those are also the reasons why adults who are supposed to be forming a government together are so afraid of each other that they fear to share the same bench.
So what help do they need at this moment in time, these Stormont adults? They need to sit together face to face, Michelle O'Neill and Jeffrey Donaldson, in broad daylight so we can see their faces and do our tick-box feedback forms about how their parties really care or don't give a toss. This is not a begging mission – no, we the people are saying that enough is enough.
Look at teachers, they have their own share of madness taking over their careers. In many countries a teacher is a clearly well-defined post – to teach the children. In this country they are everything you wouldn't want them to be: social worker, conflicts manager, fundraiser, first aider, travel guide, administrative person, faiths leader, chorister – you name it! On top of all this, the teachers have to deal with the issue that divides the nation in the middle: segregation of the educational institutions into Protestant and Catholic denominations.
When I read our children's annual academic report, I smile everytime I see a blank on the religion tickbox because from the day they started school, we advised the principal that faith is a no-go for them. They shall decide that on their own when they grow up. It ain't mischief, just a way of admitting that religion is not going to be the must-do answer for children in an already historically divided society.
When government is back in Northern Ireland, please wake me up.