Alliance Party Leader David Ford has slammed fisheries Minister Lord Rooker, after he attempted to blame local parties for his own failure to represent Northern Ireland at EU fishery talks.
Mr Ford stated: “Northern Ireland has ended up with an appalling deal on fisheries because of the Minister’s failure even to be present at the talks. It is a bit rich for him then to attempt to shift the blame unto parties which he himself has excluded from the political process.
“Lord Rooker says the parties know what they have to do, but does not allow them to do it. There has been no meaningful engagement between the Governments and any of the parties other than the leaders of each tribal camp since 2003. The truth is we would like to participate, but we have not been able to.
“The Minister should put engagement before blame. If Ministers allowed us to engage seriously, rather than engaging in a series of shabby side deals, we would get the process moving a lot faster.
“If he is dishing around blame, he might consider that, in truth, the blame lies with the two governments and the two parties they have been dealing with for two years. It is time for serious engagement with all the parties who have a mandate.”