Reacting to suggestions that Northern Ireland MPs may be afforded speaking rights in the Dáil Éireann, Alliance Party Leader, David Ford, has called on politicians to focus on creating a political climate in the North that would make real cross-border links work most effectively.
David Ford said:
“The ding-dong battle going on concerning speaking rights in the Dáil is yet another example of our politicians ignoring the real issues.
“We in Alliance seek cross-border links that work, and that recognize institutionally the things that everyone on this Island has in common.
“We have long since put forward clear proposals for a North-South Parliamentary tier which would enable Northern Ireland voices to be heard in Dublin. These, however, require the establishment of stable political institutions in the North.
“We hear much talk about respecting mandates, but it is also important to respect the people who grant those mandates. Those people are fed up with political posturing. They want institutions — in Northern Ireland and cross-border – that actually work. Yet again, only Alliance offers a clear, realistic way forward that is fair to everyone.”
NOTE TO EDITORS:
Alliance participated fully in the consultation on the reform of the Seanad Éireann, sending a team to Dublin to discuss its proposals with the Irish Government, seen at http://www.allianceparty.org/showconsultation.asp?id=6.
It also included the following in its manifesto for May’s double election:
— Alliance proposes that the First Minister, Deputy First Minister, Taoiseach and Tanaiste present a joint report on the work of the North-South Ministerial Council, in the Assembly and Oireachtas annually, and are subject to questions from legislators. While the NSMC has functioned reasonably well, Alliance wishes to see greater openness and transparency and a higher profile for this body.
— Alliance proposes that the Assembly and Oireachtas be required to establish a North-South Parliamentary Tier, which would be open to all
parties, and to which each jurisdiction would send equal numbers of participants.
— Alliance proposes increasing the scope of North-South co-operation, on the basis of practical benefits. The number of North-South Implementation Bodies was arbitrarily set at six in the Agreement. The NSMC was invited to choose these from a suggested list of 12. There is a case for creating new implementation bodies, by mutual agreement, where a sound case is put forward, based on practical benefit.