David Ford said: “While I have a fundamental problem with the recognition payment scheme, I hope that it will not undermine positive aspects of the report.
“I believe that the Consultative Group was right on the need for victims to have their suffering recognised, irrespective of the circumstances which made them a victim. However, I believe that the suggestion of a financial payment was ill-judged and members of the group have recognised that it is problematic.
“Many including me are on record stating their opposition to the payment; however, the report’s other recommendations now need serious consideration.
“Alliance as a party is totally committed to reconciliation and a shared future. Reconciliation involves making peace with your enemy and is not an easy process. Unless as a society we become serious about reconciliation, we run the risk of returning to violence.
“We now need to examine the challenges posed by the Consultative Group on the Past. The events at their report launch underline more than ever the need for a future free from segregation and sectarianism.
“Real change is needed, but if that change is delivered, then progress can be made.”