Ford says ‘Fresh Start’ deal is another false dawn for victims

Alliance Leader David Ford MLA has said today’s ‘Fresh Start’ deal is another false dawn for victims after issues relating to the past were left unresolved.

Mr Ford said the deal didn’t offer the real change required to transform society, saying the failure to agree a deal on the past was a moral and political failure.

“This should not be a time for self-praise by anyone, particularly the DUP and Sinn Fein,” he said.

“We wouldn’t have been in this crisis in the first place if not for them and they should not be congratulated for getting back to doing their jobs and joining with others in governing Northern Ireland.

“At best this deal saves devolution from collapse, but Alliance is sceptical it will place the institutions on a sustainable basis, never mind offer a fresh start. Unlike some others, Alliance played a constructive role throughout this process, and some of our proposals are reflected in the final document.

“But this deal is far from the comprehensive outcome promised. At this stage none of the main issues from the Haass Talks of 2013 have been resolved: mere promises of actions on flags and parades and nothing on the past.

“Alliance proposed an adjournment until next week, to allow proper scrutiny of what should be major government decisions that have potentially deep, long-term implications.

“Unfortunately, other parties would not agree and insisted on steamrollering this process through. We refuse to sign the people of Northern Ireland up for a future which hasn’t been thought through.

“While we cannot fully endorse all of this deal today, Alliance will play a full and responsible role to implement the parts that make sense for the good of society, and hold others to account on their commitments.”

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