Alliance Party General Secretary Dr Stephen Farry has questioned the SDLP’s logic in continuing to undermine moves to create greater accountability and collective responsibility within the Executive.
Dr Farry stated:
“Alliance welcomes many of the aspects in the Governments’ Joint Paper regarding greater collectivity and accountability. The proposals reflect a number of compromises ideas and suggestions tabled by Alliance.
“Rather than weakening the cross-community aspect of the Agreement, this new approach would actually enhance it. While there are many shortcoming and questions arising from the package, in this area it is relatively strong. If anything, the proposals could have gone further.
“The continued efforts of the SDLP to frustrate progress with regard to accountability and collective responsibility are baffling.
“Any new collective legitimisation of the Executive would reinforce the notion that all Ministers are in office to serve not only their party or section of the community, but the common good of society as a whole.
“This new method does not give the DUP the power to block the election of certain Nationalist Ministers, any more than it gives Nationalists the power to block Unionist Ministers.
“Frankly, if the DUP and Sinn Fein are not prepared to put their hands up to vote for an overall package containing nominees from the all other parties, then the notion that they will be capable of co-operating with each other in government is an illusion.
“The SDLP have rightly pointed to the poor record of the DUP regarding power-sharing. It is inevitable that the DUP will have a prime position within any restored Executive. So surely, the logical thing to do is to put much greater protections in place to stop them abusing their new and enhanced responsibilities.
“Alliance wants to see genuine power-sharing, not a power carve-up. In a divided society, it is important that Unionists do not take decisions in the areas under their control without consideration of society as a whole. The same applies to their Nationalist counterparts.”