New Year’s Message from David Ford

In his New Year’s Message, Alliance Leader David Ford has said that all politicians in Northern Ireland have a duty to the public to make Stormont work, and noted that the coming General Election will present the people of Northern Ireland with an opportunity to give their verdict on the performance of all parties since devolution was restored in May 2007.

David Ford said: “In the coming year we must see more co-operation and dialogue between parties to prevent problems on a wide range of issues, including the devolution of justice.

“Too many times this year we saw Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness falling out publicly over issues which should and could be easily resolved around the Executive table.

“After the Antrim and Lurgan murders, we saw the First and Deputy First Ministers standing shoulder-to-shoulder in condemnation of these heinous acts. They must stand united and show leadership at all times, not simply after terrorist attacks. We need grown-up government, not people playing games of chance with the future of Northern Ireland.

“The DUP and Sinn Fein have ended this year on a very negative note, with a very public fallout a few weeks ago. People don’t want to see petty political squabbles, they want delivery on creating new jobs, protecting vital public services, protecting the environment and creating a real shared future for everyone.

“There is one other key requirement. To complete the process of devolution, Northern Ireland needs a Justice Minister who can deliver improvements from the very day they take up the post. It is essential that policies for the Department are agreed urgently. There must also be public and political agreement on progress toward creating the vital new community relations strategy. If Northern Ireland does not have a new shared future strategy, this society will not be able to move forward and government will not be able to function properly.

“Sooner rather than later, all parties will have to face the electorate, with the General Election fast approaching. The people will give their verdict on the performance of all parties.

“Alliance has always, and will always, put the best interests of Northern Ireland first. If anyone wants a change from the squabbles and petty bickering of the traditional parties, then they will have a real choice. They can cast a positive vote for Alliance, guided by their hopes, and not a negative vote, led by their fears.”


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