Stephen Farry said: “The choice now facing the Assembly is either to implement a Northern Ireland version of welfare reform, with local flexibilities and modifications, or hand over its responsibilities and see the full GB-version of welfare reform implemented.
“The current impasse on welfare reform has contributed heavily to wrecking Northern Ireland’s public finances. Already, we are seeing major consequences for key public services and our ability to create economic opportunities. If the impasse continues, those who claim to be acting in the interests of the most vulnerable will in reality hurt those who are most vulnerable, as vital public services such as health, education, justice and employment are cut even further.
“It is now vital that all MLAs act responsibly in the interests of the whole community and indeed the survival of the Good Friday Agreement settlement and proceed with welfare reform, no matter how distasteful it might be.”