OFMDFM announcements are another missed opportunity – Alliance

Alliance OFMDFM spokesperson Chris Lyttle MLA has said that the announcements by the First and deputy First Minister to create a shared future are another missed opportunity.

Chris Lyttle MLA said: “Any progress, however belated, has to be welcomed – and in terms of belatedness, the title of their announcement (“Building a United Community”)was one that Alliance used for shared future proposals we set out as long ago as 2003.

“While initiatives and actions are important, what we need is a robust and joined-up strategy that will actually deliver a genuine shared future.

“It is simply not credible for the First Minister and deputy First Minister to claim that these initiatives are ‘the most ambitious ever brought forward’ – our own Party’s paper, ‘for everyone’, was far more radical and ambitious than what was announced today, and the original Shared Future strategy, which the DUP and Sinn Fein binned when they took office in 2007, was far more strategically ambitious than what they set out today.

“This announcement appears to be a disappointing response to pressure from London, Dublin and Washington for progress on building a shared future. What we need is a shared future strategy, but what we appear to have got is a collection of one-off, ‘back of an envelope’ initiatives.
“Where is the strategy for creating shared spaces, or shared communities? What are their proposals for genuinely integrated education?

“There’s an absence of proper strategic thought in relation to a number of the individual initiatives. There has been no proper discussion with other individual Ministers, and no discussion at all around the Executive table.

“What has been published today is even less than was in the draft strategy that Alliance refused to sign up to a year ago. We refused to endorse it then because it didn’t tackle the big issues, and was simply leading to a lowest-common denominator, tick-box approach. They lambasted us for doing so, insisting that they were within weeks of producing a strategy. Today they have tried to tick the box without even having a strategy.

“London, Dublin and Washington should be very disappointed at what has been produced; the people of Northern Ireland have reason to be even more disappointed at another missed opportunity to tackle the biggest challenge facing our community – building a shared future for everyone.”


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