Speaking at Leinster House, David Ford stated:
“The Shared Future document shows clearly that the Governments are beginning to recognize what we long ago argued: that we cannot continue, morally or financially, to base policy on segregated services. It would not be acceptable in this State, and it is not acceptable in the North.
“Part of that shared future must be a stronger economy in Northern Ireland. In this field, we are content that the Irish Government provides a willing partner for those in the North willing to promote cross-border cooperation responsibly for the good of all, rather than in a divisive manner. That is why, for example, we were the only party represented at the recent opening of the Dundalk bypass, a key example of the welcome measures the Irish Government has taken on cross-border economic development. We wish to pursue further areas for practical cooperation.
“We also raised our concerns about legislation on ‘on-the-runs’. The fact is that the victims of the conflict and their loved ones must be a core part of the process, and any plan that returns those who carried out terrorist atrocities to Northern Ireland without going through due legal process would cause immense pain and offence to them. Conflict resolution does requite painful measures, but there is no reason why law-abiding citizens in any part of this island should put up with people being let off with appalling crimes without facing a court.
“We continue to emphasize the significant role the Irish Government has in shaping the process of restoring devolution. This process must involve all the Assembly parties, and it must be carried out in a manner which secures genuine consensus, not tribal trade-offs. That is the only way to seek a genuine and stable way forward.”