Friday, 18 July 2008

Civic Forum to be revived?

There is speculation that the Civic Forum, which was suspended when the Executive collapsed in 2002, might be revived. It would be extraordinary if it was revived. Not just because the DUP have never been keen on the body but because in the intervening years most organisations who would wish to influence public policy – who might have seen the Forum as a useful avenue - have sooner or later decided to engage with the Assembly and the local political parties directly.

Given that the Assembly will always been the dominant influence, as a democratically elected institution charged with prioritising and deciding on policy and budgets, it is difficult to see many of these organisations devoting resources to the Civic Forum in the future.

The Civic Forum contained representatives of sectional interests and had no democratic legitimacy and in a place as small of Northern Ireland, it is hard to argue that its revival would add much to the decision making processes of the region.

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