Ford says talks are an opportunity to change the future of Northern Ireland

Speaking ahead of this week’s intensified round of all-party talks, Alliance Leader David Ford MLA said: “This week of the talks presents an opportunity to deliver radical change that can reshape the future of Northern Ireland for the better.

“We can provide truth, justice and services for victims; lance the boil of contentious parades; deal with flags and other issues that prevent us sharing our communities; reboot the Stormont institutions to make them work for the public; and deliver sustainable public finances.

“Discussions on the budget are an opportunity to transform our society if parties genuinely tackle the cost of division. Ministers must find savings and if they are serious about protecting public services then they should be reducing the amount of money we spend on maintaining a divided society.

“This week will tell whether parties want to continue with the status quo where division, tribal politics and disagreement prevents progress, or deliver a shared society where parties come together in the best interests of the public.

“In the third set of talks in 12 months, politicians owe it to the public to finally resolve these issues and show that the parties are working for them. The time is long overdue for politicians to put the public’s interests first, ahead of their party’s.

“A deal is possible but it must be comprehensive, not just a quick fix on a few pressing issues. There must not be a race to find the lowest common denominator.

“The bar that we set for the success of these talks must meet the aspirations of the public. This week will show who is holding us back and who wants to take Northern Ireland forward.”


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