Alliance Leader David Ford said: “The so-called ‘breakthrough’ over the Department of Justice amounts to very little: an agreement on a single department with a single Minister. Neither the DUP nor Sinn Fein are prepared to take the job.
“Apparently all the DUP and Sinn Fein have proposed is a Minister who would not even be a member of the Executive. How could anyone fulfil a role as important as Justice Minister in those circumstances?
“Remember, that Minister would not even have a vote on the budget. They would not be able to argue within the Executive for new legislation. An issue as important as justice cannot be treated in this way.
“This proposal is as ludicrous as the half-baked carve-up they came up with on the Victims Commission. It is unworkable and deeply flawed.
“With the DUP and Sinn Fein, it’s either cosy carve-up or complete meltdown. One day it’s chuckling, the next we hear of threats to collapse the Assembly. Local people are sick of rollercoaster politics here. There is no stability whatsoever, and stability is exactly what the region needs during these tough economic times.
“The Executive’s structures are simply not working at present, and there are few signs that the DUP and Sinn Fein are capable of making the necessary changes.
“The Justice Ministry proposal is another example of a badly thought through carve-up. Alliance has always acted in the best interests of the people of Northern Ireland, and we will continue to do so. However, I would be wrong to suggest to the people that this week’s proposal could be made to work for the good of everyone.
“The Executive has not met since mid-June and will not meet again until mid-September. This shows how little they respect local people and how committed they are to making Northern Ireland a better place to live and work. They keep saying that there a number of issues that need to be overcome. If so, they should get round the table now instead of running away.
“Responsibility for dealing with all the outstanding problems lies with Ministers – with those who told us last May that they could form a government for all the people of Northern Ireland.
“Unless they come up with more workable proposals, it will appear that the DUP and Sinn Fein are simply playing party games.”