David Ford MLA said: “For too long now public services and the entire community have been held back as a result of the almost complete failure of leadership over crucial issues and the breakdown of functioning relationships between the two main political parties. It is clear to me that things must be done differently at Stormont.
“The public deserve better – we should no longer accept the status quo. A lack of commitment and ability to work professionally is stifling social cohesion, damaging communities and the prospects of our young people and impacting on economic success. Politics must work for the entire community. Stormont needs a reboot.
“The decision of the DUP and UUP to walk out on the all-party talks last week has created a crisis over parading. And this is not the only crisis that Stormont is facing. There is a failure to agree a way forward on welfare reform which if not addressed will have dire financial consequences across all public services. The parties have failed to address the key problems facing our schools. We have handed money back to Europe over the Maze peace and reconciliation centre and the Narrow Water Bridge. The policy to build a united community remains incomplete and half-hearted. Their dysfunction is costing Northern Ireland dearly and will seriously impact on the future of all of us.”
David Ford suggested a number of ways to secure a better functioning and more stable political system for Northern Ireland. This includes:
- A coalition which is decided through voluntary negotiation between parties and subject to a vote in the Northern Ireland Assembly. Collective responsibility must apply.
- Replacing the Petition of Concern system, which has been abused, with a qualified majority system.
- An opposition, free from the voluntary government, with the opportunity to properly hold the government to account.
- Greater co-operation between Ministers requiring them to work together under law.
- All Executive policies should be required to be “shared-future proofed” to ensure that all public investment supports and underpins an open, peaceful and united society rather than continuing division.
- An end to sectarian designations in the Assembly.
- Letting the public know who donates money to political parties.