Speaking from the Liberal Democrat Conference on the eve of the resumption of political negotiations at Stormont, Alliance Party Leader David Ford MLA has called upon all parties to make the necessary compromises in order to bridge the gaps identified at the Leeds Castle Talks.
David Ford stated:
“Compromise is not a dirty word. The issues that are holding up a deal on the back of the Leeds Castle Talks are far from insurmountable, provided that the will and the creativity are there. The gaps that exist on key matters such as Ministerial accountability and the formation of the Executive can be bridged.
“I am bemused that some people are suggesting that creating greater accountability and collective responsibility in the institutions is inconsistent with power-sharing or the Agreement. What we have at the moment is a political carve-up, with Ministers exercising majority-rule within their own domains. By contrast, power-sharing is about representatives from all sections of the community having some degree of say over how decisions are made.
“Alliance is prepared to discuss changes to the mechanisms of the Agreement, as long as they are consistent with its principles. Indeed, we have put forward compromise proposals that have been taken on board and may shape the way forward. Solutions that the DUP was advocating were not realistic.
“Today, the choice is not between dying in the ditch over every last dot and comma in the Agreement, and ripping it up. Rather it is between sensible reform and continuing political paralysis.”