David Ford said: “What the DUP and Sinn Fein have achieved today may serve their party political interests, but it doesn’t serve the interests of the people of Northern Ireland. It’s politically clever in the short term, but financially stupid in the long term. They have torn up the rule book for properly managing public finances. People need to know that today’s political deal doesn’t mean that the budget crisis has been resolved – it’s made it worse.
“Not only are we running out of money, but we no longer have a proper system for managing the money we have. This DUP – Sinn Fein stitch up amounts to gross mismanagement.
“Today’s decision reflects and compounds the mismanagement of Northern Ireland by the DUP and Sinn Fein. The deal reflects their total failure to manage the Health Service and the Education System over many years, compounded by Sinn Fein and the SDLP’s refusal to face up to the reality of welfare reform; and their failure to put in place any proper system for managing public finances.
“The result is a real risk to public safety through the undermining of our police service, unequal treatment of young people in Further Education compared to those in school, and the creation of an inevitable crisis in public finances later this year.”