Dr Stephen Farry MLA stated: “The Executive are deluding themselves if they think that they can deliver economic change in Northern Ireland without building a shared future. There is a fundamental link between the two.
“Alliance is extremely concerned at the marginalisation of good relations issues in the draft Programme for Government and Budget. Rather than working to the specific outcome of a shared future, we now have the meaningless platitude of ‘a better future’. The robust policy framework and detailed policy proposals of the shared future strategy have been ignored.There seems to be no appreciation from this Executive of the human, social, financial and economic costs of division.
“The aspiration of the Executive to prioritise the economy is laudable, but there are many grounds to question whether a real step-change in our economy can actually be delivered from the absence of fiscal powers to insufficient investment in skills. But perhaps, the greatest problems are those associated with sectarianism and segregation.
“Managing divisions creates a huge burden on the public purse. This has now been illustrated by the OFMDFM commissioned report from Deloitte which the current regime have sought to bury. Divisions and questions over the rule of law also create barriers and disincentives to both foreign and domestic investment. There are major inefficiencies within our local labour market.
“There is a growing body of international evidence that those cities and regions that are most mixed and open to the free movement of people tend to attract talent and to encourage creativity. A divided Northern Ireland will struggle to plug
“The DUP and Sinn Fein may wish to ditch a shared future for political reasons. But they cannot realise their aspirations for a prosperous Northern Ireland without confronting these issues.
“If the stated aim of the programme for government is to be delivered,then a fundamental change of direction with respect to building a shared future is essential.”