Sharing's caring, so never give up

Michelle O'Neill and Arlene Foster need to show courage and decisiveness and find a way to do the right thing for the people
Roseann Kelly

WE tell our children to be kind, to share, to never give up, to be nice to others. My two favourite mantras with my children were “sharing's caring” and “never give up". All parents will have phrases they use while trying to teach their children right from wrong and trying to teach them values.

So why, if this is how we want our precious children to behave, do we not practice what we preach?

I would assume that many of the Sinn Fein and DUP MLAs are parents, and we know for certain that both Arlene and Michelle are mothers.

Business organisations have repeatedly appealed to Sinn Fein and the DUP to find a way to restore the Assembly. We have listed out the infrastructure projects on hold that directly impact our economy. As recently as Friday, NI Chamber president Ellvena Graham spoke of Northern Ireland being stuck in “no man's land somewhere between devolution and direct rule”.

Last September I wrote about our two core services, health and education, heading into crisis, and how our business success depends on a healthy educated population, that each and every one of us are impacted by their success or failure. Yet here we are, nearly a year on, and nothing has changed.

Again, I believe we have reached the point where the political parties have a moral obligation to reach agreement and restore the Assembly immediately. The politicking must stop.You have no right to put lives and futures of the people in Northern Ireland on hold as you wait on a possible Irish election, on the outcome of Brexit etc etc. The only way anyone is going to win, is to win together.

Naive and simplistic you might say. I do understand reaching agreement is not easy and many of the issues are very complex and that all parties do want to form an Executive. But if approached with kindness, compassion and determination, anything is possible.

At our organisation's recent 'Spotlight on Success' conference we heard from six amazing leaders - Madame Justine Denise Mc Bride, Dame Rotha Johnston (chair of NI Screen), Judith Owens (chief executive of Titanic Belfast), the Psni's, Detective Chief Superintendent Paula Hilman MBE, and Judith Totten (Upstream Positive Working Capital).

The common traits they all had as leaders were positivity, empathy, creativity, humility, integrity, determination, resilience and humour.

So again I appeal to Arlene and Michelle, as leaders, as women, as mothers, to sit down together, to find some common ground and remember the values you teach your children.

Be women in leadership, in politics - women who change the culture of politics. Don't play the games, take the dirt out. Show courage and decisiveness, to find a way today to do the right thing for the people of Northern Ireland.

It was former US President Barack Obama who noted: “When women succeed, nations are more safe, secure and prosperous.” Please prove him right.

:: Roseann Kelly (roseann@ is chief executive of Women in Business (, the largest and fastest growing business network for female entrepreneurs and senior women in management in Northern Ireland, with 2,500 members spread throughout all industry sectors. Follow Women in Business NI on Facebook at or on Twitter @wibni.

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