City centre bomb attacks and fears of disruption to commercial life in Belfast have triggered urgent calls from the Executive and the Assembly for the public to rally against terrorism and to actively support local shops and businesses ahead of Christmas.
The contribution that civic society has made to life in Northern Ireland over the years has been immense. It continues to be so. But when the immediate threat of terrorism recedes and when the Christmas rush is over the calls for public involvement and participation will also die away.
The Assembly is quite happy to call on civic society when faced with immediate pressures and problems but the views of wider society are not to be trusted with other issues like economic recovery, training and employment, social development, the environment and planning.
See Party statement in full: Assembly needs a Civic Forum