Alliance Leader David Ford has said that his party is the only Assembly party prepared to think and act seriously on cross-border cooperation.
David Ford stated: “Cross-border cooperation is not about daft arguments over whether a meaningless Council motion or an irrelevant 24-page document is the best way to promote work on an all-island basis. Nor is it about denying the reality of our geographical position. It is about realistic, responsible and radical proposals designed to ensure that cross-border cooperation delivers practical results that people notice.
“Alliance is not interested in petty squabbles over the number of cross-border bodies, whether some people want more or less. The issue for us as it is for most people is how we promote our shared interests. This is not done through divisive political dogma.
“We have to recognize that the vast majority of practical cross-border cooperation has nothing to do with government institutions. Something as basic as the Dundalk bypass did far more practically for cross-border trade than any amount of quangos or divisive posturing in Council chambers. It should be no surprise that Alliance was the only Northern party represented at its opening. Alliance is also the only Northern party with a sister party in the governing coalition in the Republic.
“Cross-border institutions must be designed to back up the practical cooperation that is already ongoing on issues such as trade, the environment and transport. To do that we need to reform how they operate, ensure they can continue operating effectively no matter what
the political situation, and institute reforms to the institutions in the North so that the Assembly can provide true accountability to their work.
“Alliance will need the practical support of other parties to deliver this. It would be rather unfortunate, therefore, if they choose to put outdated tribalist dogma ahead of genuine cross-border cooperation that works for everyone.”