Chris Lyttle MLA said: “The Alliance Party agrees with the Social Development Minister that building a united community requires fundamental change across society to ensure that we can work, play, learn and live together. However, the Minister must play his role in the biggest challenge facing our community.
“It is deeply disturbing that he was unable to update the Assembly on the progress his Department has made in establishing the ten shared neighbourhoods that the First and deputy First Minister outlined in their ‘Together: Building a United Community’ shared future strategy. This strategy committed the Minister to identify the locations of these ten shared neighbourhoods within two months. However, this deadline has been and gone, and he appears to have little interest in achieving this target.
“The Minister actually questioned the feasibility of this target and whether there is any appetite for shared neighbourhoods. It appears that he is in disagreement with the First and deputy First Minister over the target that they have set his Department. This is of particular concern given what Alliance believes is actually a modest objective.
“While he was unable to provide evidence of any progress, Alliance Ministers are continuing to work to meet their commitments and beyond, given our belief that this is the biggest economic and social challenge facing Northern Ireland.
“Alliance will be raising the lack of progress on their strategy with the First and deputy First Ministers.”