Executive ‘Paramilitary Plan’ is meaningless – Ford

Alliance MLA David Ford has said the brutal murder in Bangor on Sunday has shown that the Executive’s so-called Action Plan on Tackling Paramilitarism is now so weak that it is meaningless.

Speaking after Colin Horner’s murder was linked directly to a loyalist paramilitary feud, the former Justice Minister said the attack had shone a light directly on the Executive’s failure to tackle the ongoing presence of paramilitary violence in our communities.

David Ford MLA said: “This is the second time in a matter of months that a man has been gunned down on our streets in broad daylight. It is simply not good enough to reference an Executive “action plan” which is totally flawed and has been consistently undermined.

“At the time, I said that the so-called Action Plan on Tackling Paramilitarism was so weak that if I had still been Justice Minister, I would have refused to sign it off. Indeed, the “plan” was so flawed that the Treasury did not release any part of its contribution for the first year, yet Ministers continued to pretend that it was meaningful.

“The blame for the current situation fundamentally lies with the outgoing Executive – DUP, Sinn Fein, and Independent Unionist – which failed to give leadership or stand up for a culture of lawfulness.

“Alliance is clear: if we are to be serious about tackling and eradicating paramilitarism from our society, and promoting a culture of lawfulness, we need a strong functioning Executive. But it must be an Executive that stops pretending all is well and addresses the underlying issues and context that paramilitaries still continue to exploit.

“Sadly, there is no evidence to suggest that the DUP and Sinn Fein are serious about addressing the underlying problems of a divided and segregated society.”

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