at Parliament Buildings in Stormont, this conference brought together
many of Northern Ireland’s key political leaders – including Ulster
Unionist Party (UUP) leader David Trimble MP MLA and Social,
Democratic and Labour Party Leader (SDLP) Mark Durkan.
with leading representatives of the Democratic Unionist Party
(DUP), Sinn Féin, the Women’s Coalition and others,
politicians interacted with academics, community representatives
and business leaders in an attempt to overcome the breakdown
in political progress prevalent at the time.
conference at Parliament came at a time when the political parties
were under intense pressure to enable new elections to the Northern
Ireland Assembly to be held, nearly a year after the institutions
of devolved government were suspended. These elections were held
in November 2003 – though the results have led to another
log-jam, despite the success in overcoming the problems preventing
elections being held.
Conference organizer Dr Billy Leonard – then Project Co-ordinator
of INCORE/LILP said:
is a genuine attempt by INCORE to make a contribution to the
conference presented an opportunity for the political leaders to
outline their current thinking and how they see the political process
evolving. It also gave them the opportunity to hear how a wide – and
influential - cross section of the Northern Ireland community views
the present impasse and what people outside of politics want to see
happening. We have designed the conference specifically to ensure
that there is a cross-fertilisation of ideas and not just a political
platform with a passive audience.
The University of Ulster and INCORE would like to express thanks to David
Trimble and Mark Durkan for their invitation to use the Long Gallery for
To read the report from the ‘Breaking the Log-Jam Conference’ click