Naomi Long MLA stated: “This is a completely bizarre move from Sinn Fein. The irony that a party which is tasked with jointly providing leadership on cohesion, sharing and integration resorting to publishing their own strategy to deal with will not be lost on people. How can OFMdFM deliver on those issues, or even address them with any credibility, when they appear incapable to working together to do so?
“Northern Ireland needs a clear vision for a shared society, a strategy for achieving it, and the policies to deliver. We cannot grow our economy, tackle social exclusion, deal with inequalities and deliver efficiency in public services unless there is an over-arching strategy and action plan to tackle the division and segregation which are deeply embedded in our society.
“Sinn Fein’s consistent hostility to good relations and a shared future have been a major barrier to finding agreement on the issue. They have myopia about recognising that the nature of sectarian divisions in Northern Ireland. They cannot blame the British state as a convenient and exclusive scapegoat, nor is there a choice between good relations and equality. Both go hand in hand and are interdependent. It is only Sinn Fein which can’t recognise these realities.”
“By placing their own position in the public domain, it will also make reaching agreement with the DUP on the official Executive strategy much more difficult. This will prompt people to ask whether Sinn Fein have now given up on an agreed Cohesion, Sharing and Integration Strategy and are simply now focussing on apportioning blame for the joint failure of the DUP and Sinn Fein to deliver on this key issue.”