The leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, Mike Nesbitt, has said that Lisburn can be an inspiration and provide boost for Northern Ireland during the coming year.
Praising the Resurgam Trust for their community work and looking to the future development of the Maze/Long Kesh site, Mr Nesbitt said he was confident this would be a positive year for the local community.
“After two elections, spanning nearly a decade, most democracies see people voting for change,” said Mr Nesbitt. “The Ulster Unionist Party thinks the people of Lisburn and more broadly, Northern Ireland are ready to demand that transformation next May.
“As to the future, I look to trailblazers like the Resurgam Trust in Lisburn as an example of how people can direct their energy and commitment for the good of their communities. The social economy has a critical role to play as we strive to become less dependent on the public sector.
“We need stable government. That means making Northern Ireland work, and to achieve that we need to maximise our relationship with our partners in the United Kingdom, and with our nearest neighbours in the Republic of Ireland. We must stand on our own two feet and move away from the begging bowl approach.
“I want to close the gap that leaves our people less well off financially that the citizens of Great Britain. That means devising long-term strategies, like developing Maze Long Kesh, creating thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of pounds of infrastructure investment. It is shameful that the entire project has been allowed to grind to a halt over the ill-conceived proposal to build a self-styled ‘Peace and Reconciliation Centre’ in a corner of the site.
“Prosperity is not just about money. There is also the issue of feeling prosperous and in my vision of a new Northern Ireland, we will finally acknowledge and address the fact that we have shocking levels of poor mental health and wellbeing, which denies thousands of our people the opportunity to live fulfilled and meaningful lives.
“2016 will be another very significant year for Lisburn and Northern Ireland. I wish all a properly prosperous New Year.”