Back in April, I posted about the Northern Ireland Assembly Roadshow that saw the Speaker William Hay and a selection of local MLAs setting out the devolution stall in public meetings held in nine towns and cities.
And from next week, they're back on the road. There's no need to preregister. You can just turn up, guzzle the tea and coffee from 7.30pm (no mention whether there'll be samples of Assembly Fudge!) and settle down to ask questions and listen to the panel's responses from 8pm.
- Tuesday 22 September - The Park Avenue Hotel, Holywood Road, Belfast - Update Monday - the panel will include Simon Hamilton (DUP) , Danny Kennedy (UUP), Naomi Long (Alliance), Alban Maginness (SDLP), Alex Maskey (SF) and Dawn Purvis (PUP) - Update Tuesday night - follow-up blog post about the singularly small panel that turned up.
- Wednesday 23 September - Chinese Welfare Centre, Ormeau Road,Belfast
- Wednesday 30 September - NICVA, Duncairn Gardens, Belfast
- Thursday 1 October - Farset International, Springfield Road, Belfast
- Tuesday 6 October - Millennium Court Arts, Centre, Portadown
- Wednesday 14 October - The Burnavon Arts and Cultural Centre, Cookstown
- Thursday 15 October - The Marine Court Hotel, Bangor
- Wednesday 21 October - Clarion Hotel, Carrickfergus
- Tuesday 3 November - Ards Art Centre, Newtownards
- Tuesday 10 November -
Dunsilly Hotel, Antrim - postponed
- Thursday 12 November - Down Arts Centre
- Thursday 19 November - rescheduled East Belfast event - The Park Avenue Hotel, Holywood Road, Belfast
Given the general apathy and lack of public engagement with political institutions, it was interesting to hear a Stormont official at an eDemocracy event in April explain that many members of the public attending the previous set of roadshows had admitted having been up to (tour Parliament Building at) Stormont before. In a way, the NI Assembly was engaging with the already engaged.
While I'm a little surprised that the same format of roadshow has been resurrected this Autumn, having heard about the efforts that the National Assembly for Wales makes to reach out to the Welsh population, and toured the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh while on holiday this summer, it's good to see our local Assembly and MLAs making the effort to meet the citizens they serve. And good to see them tackling non-geographic communities too with visits to the Chinese Welfare Centre and NICVA,
The organisers, speaker and the MLAs in attendance will be delighted to see you along at any of the events - whether you're politically involved, interested or just curious to see what they look like. While questions can be asked on the night, if you would like to submit a question beforehand, you can email it to info AT yourassembly DOT com or use the roadshow's Ask a Question page.