Dissident dialogue only within certain parameters says Alliance

Alliance Party Justice Spokesperson, Stephen Farry, has responded to the latest comments from Secretary of State Owen Paterson regarding dialogue to tackle terrorism by stressing that engagement can be part of an overarching structure, but that the nature of any process can and must only be limited.

Stephen Farry MLA stated: “Any successful strategy to address terrorism has to be multi-faceted. First, there is a need for political unity. But this has to be more than just common purpose in opposing violence, it has to be about building a shared society that works and treats everyone fairly. Second, there is a need for a robust, well-resourced and intelligence-led policing and security response.

“Finally, there is room for some engagement. This cannot be about politics. The so-called dissidents have no political mandate and also no political agenda. There are well-tested Mitchell Principles that govern political dialogue. Alliance stands by these as should the Government. In any event, the shape of our political accommodation has already been defined and democratically entrenched.

“Rather, engagement can play a role in terms of the state or intermediaries working with communities to prevent or reverse in particular vulnerable young people getting swept into a life of violence. At a broader level, efforts to explore means by which groups can end their violence could be beneficial, but again this cannot be characterised as or become negotiations with mutual trade-offs. Recent history has shown that non-government actors have played an important role in persuading violent actors to pursue peaceful means.”


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