Alliance Party Leader David Ford has warned against the danger of another Assembly quick fix, saying that the people of Northern Ireland simply will not tolerate another break down of the institutions.
At a meeting with Northern Ireland Office Minister David Hanson, David Ford will say: “If the devolved institutions, in whatever form, break down again then they will have broken down for the last time. The people of Northern Ireland simply should not and will not tolerate a ‘revolving door Assembly’. Either we establish it properly, or not at all.
“That means Government ideas for a ‘quick fix’ are extremely dangerous. There is no ‘quick fix’. We need to be looking at all aspects of why the institutions were so unstable before — both the make-up of the institutions themselves, and non-institutional issues such as the economy where people felt no progress was being made.
“We are meeting Government Ministers to engage in a serious process and to meet the challenges the people are setting us. We are not here for a shabby deal that lets the hardliners within the Sectarian Political System off the hook.
“On the institutions, we have significant concerns. Designations are not only a breach of human rights, they have been proven not to work. Departments as personal fiefdoms constitute power dividing, not power sharing. We have to get cross-border links working for everyone in practice, not just in theory.
“Outside the institutions, we need an all-party economic forum to ensure a fair deal for our businesses and for our workers, and those seeking employment. We need to consider the extent and future of equality legislation. We need to think again about rates, water charges and personal care for the elderly — issues even in a devolved settlement that are as much to do with London as Belfast.
“We are confident that the Government has recognized the folly of political side deals. This must be an inclusive process involving all the Assembly parties. However, it must also be a long-haul process designed to secure a political and economic deal that sticks.”