Ford – This isn’t the comprehensive agreement the people deserve

Speaking on the outcome of the Haass talks, Alliance Leader David Ford said: “While certain parts of this agreement will be welcomed by the public, other areas fall far short of what should have been achieved. This is certainly not the comprehensive agreement that we entered these talks to achieve.

“On the past, we have a blueprint that we believe can deliver truth and justice for victims, and reconciliation for our community. Ultimately it will be the implementation and delivery on the ground that will determine the success of what has been agreed. We will seek to drive this agenda forward.

“On Parades, new structures have been proposed. But the real issue with parades was never about structures – the problem was behaviour. The desperate attempts by the unionist parties to resist an effective Code of Conduct for marchers and protestors showed that very clearly. So while we have a new approach to structures, it remains to be seen whether there will be any change in behaviour.

“If the attitude to flags is anything to go by, we don’t hold out much hope, because the biggest disappointment of this process has been the refusal to face up to the issue of flags. The public will rightly view the proposed Commission on Flags as little more than kicking the can down the road. After six months of talking, and hundreds of submissions from the public demanding action on flags, all we have to show for it is a commitment to 18 months more talking – keeping the issue alive through three elections. This was the opportunity to face down the extremes over flags – but parties who ducked it clearly rely on those extremes to sustain their vote. It is time that parties stopped hiding behind process, and committed to product.”


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