Recognising that the current talks appear to have foundered on the lack of confidence, Alliance Leader David Ford has called on the Government to make community relations a priority.
David Ford said:
“It appears that some hugely significant prizes were on offer, in particular the DUP finally recognising the need to share power with Republicans, and Republicans renouncing all paramilitary activity.
“Clearly, there was not sufficient trust between the parties to move forward. We do not know if this is to be a temporary blip, or whether aninvaluable opportunity has been lost for another generation.
“In the absence of such trust, parties should have focused on the very real substance that is on offer, rather than getting side-tracked.
“There has clearly been progress on reforming the Agreement. Alliance has tried to create the space for an agreement, and to bridge the gaps between the parties, and a number of our compromise proposals have been taken up by the Governments.
“Our positive and constructive role has been recognised at home and abroad and stands in contrast to that taken by some others.
“Given the election results last November, the prospects for an early return of devolution are now most uncertain. The Governments must take action in a number of areas away from the negotiation hothouse.
“Divisions on the ground are clearly feeding into the current political stalemate, and have the potential to bring down a fragile Executive even if a deal is done. The Government must work more intensively to promote community relations through the ‘Shared Future’ process, to build
confidence across the community.”