Ford – British Government must get a grip on Northern Ireland’s political crisis

In a meeting with the Secretary of State Theresa Villiers this afternoon Alliance Leader David Ford urged the British Government to convene urgent talks, and to get a grip on the deepening political and economic crisis in Northern Ireland.

David Ford MLA said: “Due to political and financial mismanagement by the DUP and Sinn Fein, Northern Ireland faces a double crisis. Our political institutions are more vulnerable than at any time since devolution in 2007, and in the months ahead people will see public services cut deeper than at any time in living memory. Unionist and nationalist leaders have created this crisis by their short-term decisions, by putting the needs of their parties before the needs of people, and by pandering to extremism, and they are clearly incapable of resolving it. If the British Government doesn’t get a grip and convene talks, devolution will be in real danger of collapse.

“In July I told the Secretary of State that if Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness couldn’t arrange talks then the British Government would have to step in. That time has now come. Even Peter Robinson has conceded that, despite being elected to lead Northern Ireland, he and Martin McGuinness can’t manage to resolve their differences without external input.

“It is a tragedy that unionism and nationalism have squandered the opportunities of devolution, to tackle division, improve public services and to build a thriving economy. We simply can’t afford to allow things to get any worse. The British government must urgently convene talks, and with the Irish and American governments, must make it clear to unionist and nationalist leaders that they are failing Northern Ireland. Passive encouragement is getting us nowhere.

“It is no longer enough to passively encourage the DUP and Sinn Fein to work together – the governments must now broker the agreements we need if devolution is to be saved.”


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