UPPER Bann MLA Dolores Kelly has issued a call to the Northern Ireland Executive to make 2012 a better year for the people of the area.
Mrs Kelly said, “The New Year is traditionally a time when people make resolutions and promises with a view to improving their lives.
“Pretty often these promises are shortlived and fall by the wayside as we complacently fall into our old ways.
“The Stormont Executive has made promises to the people of Upper Bann; promises to improve the wealth, health and future of our communities and their inhabitants.
“Unfortunately, little evidence has been seen thus far of any real commitment to fulfilling these promises but I am hopeful that 2012 will. This year is going to be tough. The draconian cuts of Welfare Reform will really start to bite and there is little sign of economic recovery.
“That is why it is so important that we work together to deliver positive change and minimise the hardship encountered by so many in our area.
“We must drive forward the regeneration of Upper Bann and showcase it as the wonderful place we know it to be. This can only be done by everyone working together for the good of all.”
Mrs Kelly also acknowledged that this decade will mark historic events of the last 100 years including the Easter Rising, World War One and the Irish Civil War. She urged people to have respect for all sides of the community and mark the events in a peaceful manner.
She said, “We are entering the first year of a decade of commemorations which mark key moments in the history of both sides of the community in the North of Ireland, and it is my fervent wish that those anniversaries are marked with dignity and respect for all traditions, rather than raking over the tired old embers of division and hatred that we have worked so hard to quench.
“I call on those groups who still see armed struggle as a means of progressing their political agenda to embrace peace and to work with us, not against us. It is only with true peace and unity of purpose that we will fulfil our true potential and attract the investment, tourism and associated jobs that we so badly need.
“The SDLP has always given that commitment and delivered on it and will work even harder in 2012 to ensure that others do too.
“I hope that the New Year brings peace to this country and peace of mind to everyone here.”