Alliance Party Leader David Ford has said that confirmation that all Northern Ireland’s parties oppose legislation on “on-the-runs” must mean an end to the bill. He added that the lesson to be learned was that shabby side deals serve only to hinder the political process.
Mr Ford stated: “Now that all political parties have come out formally against legislation on ‘on-the-runs’, the legislation must be scrapped completely. It would be nonsensical to proceed.
“Not only must this mean an end to the current bill going through Parliament, but also an end to the shabby side deals that have characterized the political process since the Agreement. Private negotiations with parties representing only one side of the electorate, particularly when the outcome serves only to meet totally unreasonable demands, have been shown absolutely to have failed.
“The political process is now in a perilous state. The system of private side deals has let to a situation where no one in Northern Ireland believes a word of what the Government or the main political players say. Who can blame people for turning away from politics when it is not carried out accountably and fairly?
“The day of the side deal is over. The day of proper, inclusive and accountable political talks is here. That is the only way to restore any sort of confidence in the political set-up here.”