New Dáil committee is missed opportunity – Ford

Alliance Leader David Ford has described Irish Government plans to set up a new Dáil Committee to deal with Northern Ireland affairs as a missed opportunity. He stated that the current plan alienates unionists and provides a comfort blanket to nationalists.

Alliance previously suggested that the best way to represent Northern Ireland interests in Leinster House was through the Taoiseach’s nominees to the Senate.

David Ford said: “This move is a missed opportunity.

“Two years ago, when discussing reform of the Senate, we recommended the development of a convention that the nominees appointed by the Taoiseach would include a variety of people from Northern Ireland. We made it clear that appointments should be made by nomination because proposals based on formal party representation would alienate unionists and provide a comfort blanket for nationalists.

“The Irish Government have wrapped the comfort blanket around the SDLP and Sinn Fein and, just as we predicted, have alienated unionism.

“The result is a committee which will do nothing to enhance a shared understanding and everything to annoy unionists.

“It may even make it more difficult to establish the consultative body between the Assembly and the Dáil which is part of the Good Friday Agreement.”


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