Alliance Party General Secretary, Stephen Farry, has accused Sinn Féin of not facing up to the need for changes to the Agreement in its priorities for the review of the Good Friday Agreement.
Councillor Farry stated: “At present, the Good Friday Agreement is broken and needs fixing. People want to see their political institutions and democratic accountability restored to Northern Ireland as soon as possible.
“There are two immediate problems. First, trust and confidence has to be restored between parties, especially on the issue of continued paramilitarism. Second, certain changes to the mechanisms of the Agreement are required. Today, reform is the only practical pro-Agreement position. Sinn Fein has failed to address either of these issues.
“Instead, Sinn Fein have a produced a rather self-centred wish-list, including the destruction of the Human Rights Commission. Sinn Fein have gone on record as not wishing to change the Agreement, yet several of their proposals would mean major changes to the Agreement.
“For example, the Agreement establishes clear principles for dealing with paramilitary prisoners – one of early release following a conviction. This was a difficult pill for many to swallow, but one that was tolerated for the greater good. An unqualified amnesty for the so-called ‘On the Runs’ is a fundamentally different matter.
“Sinn Fein is also seeking a firm date for a border poll. The Agreement currently only provides for such a referendum when the Secretary of State judges that there is sufficient evidence to justify testing public opinion. Northern Ireland needs an early border poll like a hole in the head. This proposal from Sinn Fein again changes the Agreement.”
“Sinn Fein can’t, on the one hand, criticise some parties for proposing necessary changes to get the Agreement working, and then produce their own wish-list.”