Speaking after the Secretary of State’s statement on the Northern Bank robbery, Alliance Leader David Ford has challenged the DUP on its willingness to work the Agreement.
David Ford said:
“Paul Murphy has said that the Government will engage in discussions with the parties over the next few days over possible ways forward. He has said that issues like a voluntary coalition are neither ruled in nor ruled out.
“The DUP have rejected working with Sinn Fein since the Chief Constable’s statement. They now have to make clear whether they are truly willing to work with others to get devolution working.
“There are various ideas around as to how progress might be made. Alliance has always favoured a voluntary coalition, but there is also an option to work the original structures with Sinn Fein excluded from Ministerial office, or the proposal for commissioners in place of Ministers.
“Any of these options will require the DUP to give a commitment that they will work in partnership with those whom they acknowledge as democrats. In particular, they will have to work all the institutions, especially the North-South bodies.
“If the DUP want to be treated seriously as a future partner, they must give an unambiguous commitment to playing a full part in working the Agreement. There can be no half-in, half-out games, no hokey-kokey rotating Ministers, no Castlereagh Council behaviour.
“If the DUP want to see devolution restored, they bear a heavy responsibility to work intensively with other parties and the two
Governments. First to restore devolution, then to work the Agreement.
“The DUP must make it clear now that they are up to this challenge.”