Ford says he is not in position to recommend Alliance takes Justice Ministry

David Ford MLA has said he is not in a position to recommend to Alliance members his party take the Justice Ministry.

Mr Ford said the negative DUP and Sinn Fein response to Alliance’s proposals left the party leadership with no choice but to not nominate a Minister. A number of propositions around Alliance’s ‘five steps’ contained in its election manifesto were rejected by the DUP and Sinn Fein.

Alliance Party Council, to be held tonight, is expected to ratify that decision.

“Alliance submitted a paper to the DUP and Sinn Fein on Tuesday outlining where we believed movement could be made and today they responded,” said Mr Ford.

“It is clear we are not on the same page when it comes to seeking progress for our society and as such, I cannot recommend to Alliance Party Council this evening we take the Justice portfolio.

“There has rightly been public frustration over the repeated failures of other parties in the Executive and a different approach is undoubtedly needed. Alliance does not want more stop-start politics but rather is concerned with taking Northern Ireland forward faster. We sought reassurances the DUP and Sinn Fein agreed with us on fundamental reforms to benefit our community. However, judging by their response, that is not the case.

“The proposals Alliance put to the DUP and Sinn Fein were ambitious and would have moved Northern Ireland forward. We have engaged constructively throughout this entire process, with delivering for our community foremost in our minds.

“It is clear there is a problem for the DUP and Sinn Fein to resolve in terms of finding a Justice Minister but they have rejected our solution. It is now up to them to resolve the problem over the next six days.”

Alliance’s proposals to DUP and Sinn Fein

1. Protocol on the use of the Petition of Concern

A significant restriction on the use of Petition of Concern mechanism, in line with its original intent.

2. Commitment to integrated education

A step change in the Executive’s commitment to integrated education, including legislation.

3. Tackling the legacy and ongoing impact of paramilitarism

A short timetable for resolving outstanding issues around the legacy of the past, including a paramilitary strategy.

4. Additional skills investment

A significant investment in skills and universities to ensure the devolution of Corporation Tax is a success.

5. Addressing economic and financial implications of a divided society

An independent assessment of the cost of division within Departments, with subsequent strategies to address them.

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