A few days before European Circus Day my attention has focused on the two circuses currently in the Newry and Armagh area.
Duffy's Circus has recently arrived at Frank Curran Park, Newry. I understand that Duffy's Circus involves a variety of animals including tigers, crocodiles, dogs, snakes and horses. An investigation is 2006 reported that the animals are held in pens and are restricted from making the movements animals can regularly make when living in the wild.
Circus animals experience an appalling life, forced to travel around the country in confined conditions, often chained up with little exercise or enrichment. Many countries have moved to prohibit circuses with live animals but unfortunately they remain legal in Northern Ireland and appear in most towns on a regular basis.
Circuses do not need live animals to be fun. Circus animals are often forced to perform acts which are uncomfortable and sometimes painful. I am therefore calling for an end to the circus at Frank Curran Park. Animals should not be forced to live in such conditions and perform acts merely for the enjoyment of others.
I also understand that Duffy's plan to hold a Parade through Newry City Centre on Saturday 17 April 2010 to celebrate European Circus Day with a special performance held afterward in Frank Curran Park. I sincerely hope this parade will not involve walking some of the circus animals through the street in light of previous accidents when animals have wandered away from the path of the parade towards spectators. I intend to boycott the parade and the special performance and have rejected the offer of one hundred free tickets to attend the show.
My attention is also focused on the other circus in the area. Some may have noticed that the traditional circus of Orange and Green politics has yet again arrived in the Newry and Armagh area with political parties promoting their Nationalist or Unionist credentials in advance of the Westminster Election on 6 May 2010. All the main political parties in Newry and Armagh want inside the big tent at Westminster but, unfortunately, there is only one seat available.
The Ulster Unionists are increasingly behaving like a bunch of clowns when they claim that their link-up with the Conservative Party will bring a new era of progressive politics. Whilst the Ulster Unionist's are now trading under a different brand new logos and slogans can't hide the fact they have agreed a sectarian pact with the DUP in Fermanagh and South Tyrone. Whilst their new political masters support the devolution of Policing and Justice the UUP can't make their minds up whether they are in favour of the devolution of Policing and Justice, voting against devolution and then nominating local MLA Danny Kennedy for the position of Justice Minister when the opportunity arose on Monday.
While the UUP are clowning around, the DUP and Sinn Fein are trying to perform some magic, attempting to create an illusion by claiming a positive record in government at Stormont when in fact the two parties have consistently failed to deliver with Post Primary Transfer thrown into chaos without any practical replacement to the 11+ and the process of Local Government Reform still uncertain a year away from the next Council elections.
With the Ulster Unionists, DUP and Sinn Fein performing their acts the SDLP have been moving the scenery around with a new leader in the hope that it will make their performance more attractive when in fact it's just the same old act with a new ringmaster.
Whilst other parties remain obsessed with proving their Nationalist or Unionist credentials the Alliance Party is firmly focused working for the people, building a Shared Future, building a knowledge based economy, protecting the environment whilst also delivering safer and more healthy communities.
For far too long the people of Northern Ireland have been forced by the tribal parties to walk a trapeze wire, regularly witnessing stunts and always scared that Northern Ireland will be pushed off the trapeze wire by a party more interested in their own audience rather than everyone across the North.
On 6 May voters have the opportunity across Northern Ireland to vote for a star performance. A vote for Alliance on 6 May 2010 is a vote for a Shared Future and to end Punch and Judy politics.
15 April 2010