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Clare Bailey says climate threat will supersede constitutional politics

Green leader Clare Bailey addresses her party's annual conference. Picture by Neal Dorman

A BORDER "down the Irish Sea or across the island of Ireland matters little in the face of climate breakdown", the Green Party leader in Northern Ireland has said.

Clare Bailey said the breakdown of the climate is the defining issue of our time and its threat would supersede the constitutional politics which dominates at present.

She told her party's conference in Belfast on Saturday the effects "know no national boundaries and do not recognise lines drawn on a map".

The South Belfast assembly member took over as leader from Steven Agnew in November.

"I want those to promote the notion of a new Ireland to set out their position on mitigating climate change in this new dispensation, as well as protecting rights, providing health care and other public services and creating a fairer and more just society," she said.

"I'd also ask the same questions of those who avow the protection of the union, particularly in a post-Brexit Britain."

She said Brexit and a lack of progress around equality matters were affecting on the lives of everyone across Northern Ireland, particularly those with little economic power and influence.

The west Belfast-born Green leader also recalled her time as as a lone parent of two children and how a period of homelessness affected on her studies at Queen's University in Belfast.

"There is a growing housing crisis in Northern Ireland, fuelled by a lack of new build social housing and so called welfare reform - I've lived through that experience and it's a painful one," she told the conference.

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