Speaking after Sinn Féin refused on a minor technicality to back Alliance Deputy Leader Naomi Long’s proposal to establish an economic working group before the summer, David Ford stated: “This afternoon’s meeting was another farce, this time caused by Sinn Féin refusing to agree to setting up a working group to develop a united front on the economy – despite its own senior members having stated they were in favour.
“It appears some people would prefer to die in a ditch over the technical nature of a committee, than face the real challenges for businesspeople and workers across Northern Ireland.
“The objective was and is to work with the Business Alliance, social partners and other groups to develop coherent economic policy designed rapidly to increase investment from within and outside Northern Ireland, and look at cross-border cooperation. It is quite staggering that any party claiming a mandate from the people refuses to face up to that challenge.
“The Alliance Party recognises that there are very real obstacles facing our economic development, and that a radical series of measures is needed. No one in Northern Ireland can afford any more silly games.
“Unfortunately, here we have yet another example of a single party using the veto awarded to it by the Secretary of State to block progress on behalf of all the people of Northern Ireland. This is a totally unacceptable situation and it is time that those willing to agree, were allowed to agree.”