SDLP Deputy Leader Nichola Mallon outlines the frustration of the NI government shutdown
"You're going to be, or want to be, part of the solution. Otherwise you're the problem."
At the time of the publication of this article, Northern Ireland has been without a government for 974 days and there's little sign of any agreement on the horizon, which, when you consider the unique position of Northern Ireland in terms of Brexit, is rather difficult to fathom.
But while the lack of a voice in Stormont during Brexit is striking, SDLP Deputy Leader Nichola Mallon said there's another level to it which is frustrating when trying to make meaningful changes.
It means that even at a local level, systemic changes can't be made and Mallon told Dion Fanning in this week's episode of Ireland Unfiltered that it's preventing her and others from helping people.
"Part of my role is serving my constituents so I continue to do that," Mallon said.
"But I don’t get to scrutinise government departments and I don’t get to move forward legislation or be part of lawmaking, which is a really important aspect of it.
"So you're severely curtailed and it also has a knock-on effect because when people come to you with issues. Say if a child had special needs and they’re struggling to get help in schools or a statement. That requires systemic change, so you’re very frustrated as well because you’re shouting and battling on an individual basis, but you know deep down that if you really are going to help people then you have to make systemic changes.
"And to do that you need a government and you need an Assembly," she said.