26 January 2017
As a result of racism and ageism allegations within the Alliance Party, South Belfast candidate Emma Little Pengelly has questioned whether the party’s leader, Naomi Long will now step aside for an investigation.
Emma Little Pengelly said, "Should Naomi Long step aside as Alliance leader while allegations of racism and ageism within her party are independently investigated?
Naomi Long joined up with other parties to try to topple Arlene Foster on basis of unsubstantiated and strongly denied allegations. This is appalling hypocrisy by the Alliance leader who has repeatedly stated over the last number of months that Arlene Foster step aside regardless of any personal responsibility, of which there was none and before an investigation.
The on-going allegations has resulted in an unnecessary election, with no budget in place and huge uncertainty for our front line public services - including a health service under massive pressures.
Serious allegations against Alliance have been aired from now within the party. So why isn't its leader practising what she preached on stepping aside? Or does she now belatedly accept that due process should apply before any conclusions should be reached?
It is disgraceful for Naomi Long to then accuse two genuine, committed and respected women who I have worked with on Carryduff related issues of making it up this morning on the Nolan Show, without having spoken to them. Allegations of discrimination should be taken seriously and not dismissed in such a rude and arrogant way.
She is now hoist on the gallows she made for others. She has been too ready to believe and regurgitate allegations against others. That was evident just this week when she spoke out on social media about an erroneous newspaper report on a grant to a community hall. She owes an apology to that community group for airing false allegations.
Maybe, just maybe she should stop jumping to premature conclusions and pointing the finger at others. And maybe concentrate on sorting out problems in her own back yard."