Alliance leader Naomi Long pulls out of Ireland’s Future summit

Naomi Long said she can no longer attend this month’s event due to election committments

Alliance Party leader Naomi Long said Labour must ‘shift the dial’ on reforming Stormont’s devolved structures if it wins the General Election
Alliance leader Naomi Long will no longer attend the Pathway to Change event (Liam McBurney/PA)

Alliance Leader Naomi Long has pulled out of a conference debating Ireland’s future ahead of the Westminster election.

The justice minister and East Belfast candidate said “pressing commitments” due to the election were to blame.

Party colleague Nuala McAllister will take her place.

Irelands Future: Pathway to Change describes itself as a platform to discuss the debate around constitutional change on the path to a new and united Ireland.

In January, Ms Long said she was ‘looking forward’ to joining the Ireland’s Future June gathering.

A poster for the upcoming Ireland's Future 'Pathway to Change' event.
A poster for the upcoming Ireland's Future 'Pathway to Change' event.

An Alliance Party spokesperson said on Friday morning: “Unfortunately, due to the snap election and short nature of the campaign, Naomi Long’s diary has had to see a number of last-minute changes and therefore is unable to participate in this event due to other pressing commitments.

“Alliance will still be represented at this particular event by Nuala McAllister MLA.”

Ireland’s Future secretary Niall Murphy said: “It is unfortunate that Naomi Long has indicated she is no longer available to participate in the Pathway to Change event at the SSE Arena. Ireland’s Future regrets that this is the case.”

In 2022 Alliance declined to take part in the civic nationalist group’s ‘Together We Can’ summit in Dublin’s 3Arena.

However, in 2022 Alliance deputy leader Stephen Farry took part in a panel discussion hosted by Ireland’s Future in London.

A party statement ahead of that event said: “We are participating in a debate and not endorsing any particular view.”

The conference will take place in the Belfast SSE on Saturday June 15 at 2pm