Government must be more honest in assessing political progress

An Alliance Party delegation will meet Minister David Hanson this afternoon to present its ideas for reinvigorating the political process. The delegation will also call on Government to clarify its position on dealing with parties with paramilitary links.

Party Leader David Ford stated: “We are meeting the Minister to present our ideas for moving the process on. We are showing that we are prepared to meet the Government’s challenge to be proactive on this.

“We made firm proposals for devolution when we published ‘Agenda for Democracy’ in early 2004. We remain committed to discussing those proposals, and the proposals of others. The fact remains that reform is the only valid pro-Agreement position. We will not accept any negotiation over the principles of that Agreement, but we will work to improve those

aspects which clearly have not worked.

“In turn, we have also asked the Government to make it clear how it will judge parties with paramilitary links. It is important that Ministers set out clearly how they will respond to moves by those parties.

“The only way to end the cynicism which is felt by most people in Northern Ireland is for Government to become transparent and honest in recognizing progress.

“The debacle of the ‘on-the-run’ legislation is proof that side deals, employed since Weston Park, do not work. We want a guarantee that, from now on, the process will be inclusive of all the Assembly parties.”


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