The East Belfast MLA stated: “The more people study this Programme for Government, the more they will recognise it for the hurried shambles it is. It simply defies belief that any Programme could make no mention of tacking sectarianism – the very issue at the heart of our conflict and which defines Northern Ireland. That the parties in the Executive have also chosen not to prioritise education merely serves to illustrate that this Executive has neither the capacity or the will to tackle the real issues.
“Sectarianism and segregation continue to be the scourge of our society. They cost us lives, they cost us money, they define us entirely. Yet not a single mention of tackling sectarianism, ending segregation, or pursuing ‘Shared Future’ appears in the Government’s Programme. One must assume that this is because the parties in the Executive have built their power bases upon the very segregation we should be trying to end.
“Then we find a list of priorities which fails to list education at all. Not only do we find that integrated education receives no mention at all in the Programme, but education itself is left off the priority list. Executive parties, apparently, have no interest in our children, in lifelong learning, or in providing our workforce with the skills they need.
“This means that each and every Executive party has presided over a Programme for Government that does not prioritise education and does not tackle sectarianism. Never before has the difference between the Opposition and Executive parties been clearer, and never before has the alternative been more starkly needed.”