ICE Northern Ireland urges election candidates to commit to infrastructure

The Built Environment Debate put questions to standing candidates from four of Northern Ireland’s main political parties.

Left to right: Daithí McKay of Sinn Féin, Connor Duncan of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), BBC Political Correspondent Mark Simpson, Steve Aiken OBE of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), and Andrew Muir of the Alliance Party.
Left to right: Daithí McKay of Sinn Féin, Connor Duncan of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), BBC Political Correspondent Mark Simpson, Steve Aiken OBE of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), and Andrew Muir of the Alliance Party.

On 5 April, in conjunction with other industry bodies, ICE held a hustings at the MAC in Belfast. Hosted by the BBC's Mark Simpson, the debate featured candidates from four of Northern Ireland's political parties. In addition to the live audience, 636 people watched the online livestream, which is now available to view.

View the online recording at beddebate.org
View the online recording at beddebate.org

Organised by ICE, RSUA, RICS, ACE and RTPI, the Built Environment Debate put questions to Sinn Féin's Daithí McKay, the SDLP's Connor Duncan, the UUP's Steve Aiken and Alliance's Andrew Muir.

ICE Fellow Alan Strong posed the first question, in which he asked the candidates when the Assembly would have the courage to implement domestic water charging. The lively discussion that followed set the tone for the rest of the event, which also included questions about housing undersupply, an infrastructure commission and energy bills.

"It was a fantastic event which gave us the opportunity to raise our concerns and challenge our politicians to make difficult decisions — even if it attracts criticism from some quarters," said Richard Kirk, Director of ICE NI. "I would encourage everyone to watch the recording to become better informed of industry issues and to prepare for the upcoming election."

Richard in the BBC studios.
Richard in the BBC studios.

There was also a bevy of press coverage following the event, with domestic water charging as the headline. ICE was mentioned in both the Belfast Telegraph and Irish News, and Richard appeared on Good Morning Ulster to speak more in depth about ICE's call for alternative revenue streams (listen from 1:10:30 onward).

"We're delighted to be raising awareness of these issues, and hope to garner more public support in the weeks leading up to the election," Richard said. "It is critical that ICE continues to be the voice of civil engineers and highlights the ways in which we can build Northern Ireland's quality of life."

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