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New libertarian political party launched in Portadown pledges to put local issues to fore

'We don't want more bureaucracy in this country. Everyone is an individual. We're pretty much pushing for individualism'

It was a full house in Portadown this week as a new cross-community libertarian political party set out their case for shaking up politics in Northern Ireland.

‘NI People’ was launched on Monday night (March 11) in a packed Richmount Community Hall, with the stated aim of bringing back “common-sense small government” outside the traditional “green and orange” labels.

It’s headed up by west Belfast man, Tony Mallon, who has contested elections as an independent in the past.

Among the fledgling group’s stated aims, they’ve pledged to maintain the rights to freedom of speech and expression, alongside opposing net zero to sustain local farmers producing their own food.

The party has also weighed in on the issue of migration, saying they support a points-based system; are opposed to open borders and want to create jobs and opportunities, alongside prioritised housing for “indigenous peoples”.

Speaking at the launch on Monday night, Tony Mallon said the party welcomes those of all backgrounds and persuasions, as long as they stand for “common sense”.

He continued: “What’s the difference between ourselves and everybody else? Quite simple, we’re not bought and paid for.

“We’re a coalition of independents. Every single person that’s willing to stand up and represent their area will be the leader for their area… diversity is our strength. We don’t mind debate with each other and disagreeing with each other.

“I’m social libertarian, which means that I defend working-class people and local businesses as well.. I do not stand for the tyranny of governments. I do not stand for bureaucracy. I do not stand for people being taxed.

“We’re for localised governance… I would love to see Stormont turned into a museum. We would love to see local councils running the local areas completely.”

Ryan North, an east Belfast man and candidate for NI People, speaking to Armagh I after the launch, says the party was set up because its members felt “unrepresented” by the current political landscape in Northern Ireland.

“We’ve set up this party to give people an alternative choice and to promote Northern Ireland as Northern Ireland,” he said.

On Monday’s launch in Portadown, Ryan says it was a “full-house” of local people concerned with local issues.

The party is distinctly neutral on the constitutional question, with each candidate free to decide their own stance on a United Ireland.

“We’re pushing for local communities first. We’ve set up a charity there on the Shankill Road to help people at a local level and we will be setting up charity shops in local towns to help with communities. We’re very much pushing for people at a local level decentralised from the big government.”

Ryan argues that his party’s small-government, low-tax approach is unique in the Northern Ireland political system.

Speaking on the main parties, he said: “They’re very much advocates for big government. There are some exceptions from certain individuals in some parties, but every single party policy from other parties is very much an advocate for big government.

We don’t want more bureaucracy in this country. Everyone is an individual. We’re pretty much pushing for individualism.”

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