Alliance Leader David Ford has welcomed today’s announcement by the Secretary of State of a roundtable meeting of the parties next Thursday, but expressed disappointment that these talks will be held on the basis of review under paragraph 7 rather than a Comprehensive Review under paragraph 8.
David Ford said:
“Alliance was clear that the first political step towards restoring devolution should be the convening of a roundtable meeting among the parties. We are pleased that the Governments have followed this approach. I think it is also highly symbolic that the venue for these Talks will be Parliament Buildings.
“Alliance wants to go beyond the stop-start progress of recent years, and build on the template provided by the Agreement. We believe that the Talks process we are now embarking upon must address all the issues that people have, not just the immediate causes of the recent collapse in devolution.
“The Agreement provides the terms for its own Review in light of experience. There are flaws both in the text of the Agreement and problems with implementation that should be addressed in light of the developments over the past four years. Alliance continues to believe that the Governments should convene the Comprehensive Review envisaged under paragraph 8 rather than the more limited review allowed for under paragraph 7.”