Ford: Anniversary offers new opportunities to deliver on agreement’s potential

Alliance Leader David Ford has said the 15th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement should be used by politicians to generate renewed momentum to deliver on the potential that it created.

Speaking today, David Ford reiterated the importance of the Agreement and the principles behind it, but he said that many promises, and the hope that they created, still remain unfulfilled.

David Ford said: “15 years ago today the political parties made a momentous decision, which the vast majority of our people then voted for, that should have led to a new Northern Ireland for everyone.

“On Good Friday 2013 the values and beliefs behind the agreement remain strong, but many of its key promises remain unfulfilled and we haven’t moved on from the old politics of ‘them’ and ‘us’. While devolution is in place, we still have no concrete agreement on dealing comprehensively with the past, while issues of integrated housing and education are largely ignored.

“The past few months have demonstrated how the politics of ‘them’ versus ‘us’ still simmers closely under the surface, as any consideration of a shared future was pushed firmly off the agenda as some parties continued to promote the tribal politics of the past.

“It is time for local politicians to take heed of recent comments by President Obama, the Prime Minister and the Taoiseach. We must continue to strive to put the politics of the past behind us.

“Today we have a fresh opportunity to renew momentum behind the Agreement and all that it promised, to create a truly shared future full of hope and inspiration for a new generation. Alliance is dedicated to taking the tough decisions needed to achieve this and will continue to represent everyone as we work to fulfil the Agreement’s potential.”

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