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Green Party leader Steven Agnew is 'embarassed' to be an MLA

Steven Agnew made the comments at the party's annual conference in Belfast on Saturday, where the party said there was a record turn out. Picture by Matt Bohill
Andrew Madden

THE leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland has said he is "embarassed" to be an MLA due to the Stormont crisis.

Steven Agnew made the comments at the party's annual conference in Belfast on Saturday, where the party said there was a record turn out.

The north Down MLA said he is not optimistic about the Assembly being restored, as he thinks Sinn Féin feels it isn't "in their interest".

"I'm in politics not just to win votes for the sake of it, but to achieve change and it's hard to do that with no Assembly, but from a human point of view its become an embarrassment to be an MLA in the current situation," he said.

"I've been through many hard times for politics but I've never been as embarrassed as I am now to walk into a pub and people say 'why are you not at work?' and I can't give them a proper answer to that.

"It's my belief that Sinn Féin has decided its not in their interests to be in government and its not in their interests to have a working Assembly. I hope I'm wrong."

Meanwhile, the party's other MLA, Claire Bailey, refuted the claim that she is stepping down as the Green's deputy leader because of a rift in the party.

"I think we have such a wealth of talent and resources in terms of our membership. This has got nothing to do with internal party frictions. Quite the opposite," she said.

"I want the party to expand. We have Steven and I both elected as MLAs and we can not be seen as a two person party when that's not really the case, so I want to develop the party," she said.

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