Farry’s end of year statement

North Down Alliance Councillor, Stephen Farry, in an end of year statement, has pointed out the successes in stabilising the peace process during 2001, but warned of the need to begin tackling sectarian divisions in 2002.

Stephen Farry said:

“2001 has been a year of major challenge and change in Northern Ireland. Right up to the autumn, there was great uncertainty as to whether the peace process could survive.”

“All the major issues still had to be resolved. These included decommissioning, police reform, and security normalisation. The stability of the Assembly and the other institutions was in serious doubt.”

“There was also the spectre of increasing polarisation and rising paramilitary violence.”

“However, this year is now ending with renewed hope. There are much better prospects for peace and stability in Northern Ireland, with the future of the Assembly secured for the foreseeable future. Alliance played a major role in this.”

“We have successfully elected a First and Deputy First Minister. Actual decommissioning of IRA weapons has now started. And the new police service is now up and running, under the direction of the local policing board.”

“I am proud that the Alliance Party was able to play a decisive role in helping to improve stability. Our Westminster election strategy was vital in ensuring that that the extremes of both unionism and nationalism did not destroy the opportunities for making progress together. The temporary re-designation of our MLAs was the crucial move that avoided the collapse of the Assembly in early November.”

“It is important that we do not squander the opportunity provided by this time of relative stability.”

“Threats and problems remain. Northern Ireland is more sectarian and segregated than at any time over the past 30 years. Paramilitary violence is at its highest level since 1994. Unless these problems are tackled, the Agreement cannot survive.”

“2002 must be the year when we all begin to address the divisions in Northern Ireland, and start to build a shared, non-sectarian society, and a more united and diverse community.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *