Austin Currie: Stormont's problems 'so soluble' compared to civil rights struggle

The panel at the event in Dungannon, back from left Mid Ulster MLA Patsy McGlone, councillor Malachy Quinn, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood and panelist Fergal McFerran. Front row from left, Austin Currie, SDLP civil rights committee chair Bríd Rodgers, panel chair Brendan Hughes, Michael McLoughlin and former Mid Ulster MP Bernadette McAliskey

A LEADING figure in the north's civil rights movement has said Stormont's problems today are "so soluble" in comparison with those faced 50 years ago.

Austin Currie, co-founder of the SDLP, said the "current political fiasco" showed the "ineptitude" of former executive partners the DUP and Sinn Féin.

The Stormont executive collapsed in January, and months of talks since then aimed at restoring power-sharing have failed to reach an agreement.

Mr Currie: "The current political fiasco at Stormont demonstrates the ineptitude of the two parties which dominate the political scene.

"Their problems today are so soluble in comparison to those faced with the challenges at the initiation of the civil rights movement."

Mr Currie was speaking ahead of taking part last night in a civil rights panel discussion in Dungannon, Co Tyrone.

The event was the second in a series being organised to mark next year's 50th anniversary of the north's civil rights movement, which sought to end discrimination against Catholics.

Also on the panel were former MP Bernadette McAliskey; SDLP civil rights committee chair Bríd Rodgers; Michael McLoughlin, who signed the original permit request for the Dungannon civil rights march; and Fergal McFerran, a former NUS-USI president and same-sex marriage campaigner.

The event was opened by SDLP leader Colum Eastwood, and the discussion chaired by Irish News journalist Brendan Hughes.

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