Alliance Party Assembly member Naomi Long (East Belfast) has questioned the SDLP’s consistency in advocating a fallback Plan ‘B’ for the Agreement after frustrating efforts to deliver Plan ‘A’ – a reformed and improved Agreement.
Naomi Long stated:
“Over the past few months, the SDLP has climbed onto its high horse to defend every detail of the structures of the Agreement – not just the fundamentals as Alliance and the Governments have sought to do.
“The SDLP has insisted that it will defend the Agreement to the hilt, and nothing else can be considered. This approach has hindered progress.
“It is therefore strange that the SDLP are now talking about fallback positions and Plan ‘B’s. Surely their idea of appointed ministers breaches the fundamental principles of the Agreement? Where is the democratic accountability? Where does it leave the idea of unionists and nationalists taking collective responsibility and sharing power together?
“If the SDLP want to argue that its proposal is consistent with the Agreement then good luck to it.
“However, that means that there was more scope for making improvements to the Agreement within its fundamentals than the SDLP were ever prepared to face up to.
“It is a pity that the SDLP was not prepared to show much creativity in this regard when it could have made a difference.
“By contrast, Alliance has been making clear that reform is the only realistic pro-Agreement option.
“Alliance thinks that it is still possible to move forward on the basis of Plan ‘A’ – a reformed and improved Agreement, consistent with its fundamental principles.”