The Alliance Party has submitted new proposals to address the issue of exiles in Northern Ireland to the UK and Irish Governments. The party’s position paper on the issue was presented to the Governments at talks yesterday [20 February], and to the interim Victims’ Commissioner.
Alliance Victims’ Spokesperson Eileen Bell stated: “So many vulnerable people feel totally excluded by the political process and feel they are not getting the community leadership they need from their elected representatives. It need not be this way.
“As a party we are not known for taking a sizeable vote in deprived areas. However, when we talk about social integration, we do not just mean Protestants being nice to Catholics. We mean every individual should have the freedom to live their life and reach their potential, provided they do so responsibly. In this context we have again raised the issue of exiles, which is so often misrepresented.
“Our paper focuses on defining exiles, the traumas suffered by their families, difficulties experienced in rehousing exiles, and problems faced by children caught up in an exiling situation. No one who is serious about a normalized, democratic and just society can afford to ignore this issue.
“Yesterday we brought up the exiles issue, as well as the issue of ongoing Loyalist criminal activity, so appallingly illustrated in Carrickfergus at the weekend. Pursuing successful outcomes on these issues is central to the process, and must not be overshadowed by the political acrimony with which the talks ended. This is far too important simply to be forgotten