The Justice Minister was speaking after First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness announced plans to convene the Executive next week – two weeks after the same suggestion from Alliance Ministers was rejected.
David Ford MLA said: “Last week, the First Minister and deputy First Minister rejected our proposal that the Executive extend its meeting, or have an additional meeting, to discuss the unprecedented pressures we are facing this year, next year and beyond.
“Every day that passes without Ministers taking decisions piles an additional £1million pressure onto the cuts that will have to be made this year. The longer we leave it, the harder it gets to make strategic decisions, and the worse the impact on the people of Northern Ireland will be.
“So this announcement that they will convene a meeting next week to examine budget issues is a belated, but welcome opportunity for Ministers to get a grip on the financial crisis that Northern Ireland is descending into. They must accept the realities facing Northern Ireland and be focussed on working together to prioritise and secure what is best for everyone across Northern Ireland, not simply protecting their own parties.
“It is time Ministers stepped up to the job they were elected to do. Next week’s meeting must be about more than talking – it’s well past time that decisions were taken, before we descend even deeper into this crisis.”