Chris Lyttle MLA said: “Building a shared society is the single biggest challenge facing Northern Ireland, Alliance has consistently made this our top priority. It should be the central overarching priority for the Executive. We have been calling on OFMDFM to publish a shared future strategy for over six years.
“The Alliance Party has shown our commitment to tackling this issue by the proposals that we put forward in the previous working group, some of which have been included in this strategy.
“We recognise that they have been able to publish this document, however it falls short of the ambitions of the community 15 years on from the Good Friday Agreement. I urge people to compare it to the Alliance Party’s ‘For Everyone’ document, our ambitious vision for a shared future, and judge for themselves what is possible in developing a shared society.
“There is a concern that this is just a PR exercise ahead of the G8, that is designed to appease the British, Irish and American Governments.
“This document will be scrutinised as to what it delivers on key shared future issues including integrated education, mixed housing, spared spaces and mutual respect of different cultures. From what has already been announced, it does not appear that OFMDFM’s plans go far enough. When you think of a shared future, the first issue that comes to mind is integrated education, something that wasn’t even mentioned in their announcement.
“While they have a goal of removing all peace walls in ten years, this cannot be done without agreement on flags, parades and the past -issues that OFMDFM have deferred from their strategy and have instead asked a working group to resolve.
“OFMDFM has recognised that a new format of an all party working group is needed, as proposed by the Alliance Party, one with an independent chair and that includes community representatives and experts in key areas operating in an open and transparent manner. This new process will be judged on the basis of whether it has the capability to deliver an end result on such sensitive issues.
“Nothing less than a fully comprehensive and ambitious strategy that will deliver a genuine and lasting shared future right across Northern Ireland is required for the sake of our society and economy.”