Alliance Leader praises Ritchie and criticises Robinson after CTI decision

Alliance Leader David Ford has strongly backed Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie in her decision to end conflict transformation funding and has condemned Peter Robinson’s intervention. Margaret Ritchie’s decision was given in the assembly today and Alliance backed her all the way.

David Ford said: “I strongly welcome this decision and I wish to praise Margaret Ritchie in standing up not only to paramilitaries, but to those who sought to interfere in her decision.

“She has shown integrity and courage in the face of intense and unhelpful pressure. Alliance supported her stance and backed her deadline. We are glad she has merited the faith we have shown in her.

“Peter Robinson’s intervention, however, how shown how fragile this Executive is. There is no collective responsibility and it would seem that the DUP are having serious problems with genuinely sharing power.

“I am unhappy that the Minister had been placed in a very awkward position by individuals in and outside the Executive. The Executive left the decision to Margaret alone and they should have respected it.

“I am appalled at the lack of support for her from other Executive parties on this issue. It’s a real case of double standards from unionists, as they constantly called for IRA decommissioning, but have failed to take a tough line against loyalist terrorists.

“Alliance has been fundamentally opposed to this conflict transformation funding since it was set up by Direct Rule Ministers and we are very glad that Minister has acted to stop it.

“Today’s decision sends out a very strong message that paramilitaries cannot hold people to ransom. Its time the UDA decommissioned and left the communities that they tortured for decades in peace.”


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