Bell sounds warning over Forum

An Alliance delegation today expressed reservations about reconstituting the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation to the Secretary of State, Paul Murphy. Speaking after the meeting, Deputy Leader Eileen Bell stated:

“Alliance had a very constructive meeting with the Secretary of State. He is was very much in listening mode, and is quickly getting up to speed on the important issues. I think that we can expect a clear statement on how the Government views the way forward within the week.

“We put forward our views on any Review. First, it should commence as soon as possible to prevent any vacuum emerging. Second, it should be inclusive, collective and transparent. Third, it should be comprehensive in scope, dealing not only with the immediate issues raised by suspension but also deeper implementation problems, such as the voting system and institutionalised sectarianism.

“We also expressed our reservations about the recall of the Dublin Forum for Peace and Reconciliation. While we were the only non-nationalist party to participate before, and would not rule out participating again, at this stage Alliance believes it may be a distraction from the task of building a process in Northern Ireland involving both Governments and all the parties.”

The delegation consisted of Deputy Leader, Eileen Bell; Chief Whip, Kieran McCarthy, and General Secretary, Stephen Farry. Party Leader, David Ford, who is on party business in London, had separate talks with Mr Murphy yesterday morning.

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