Urgent clarity needed on funding to tackle paramilitarism – Ford

Alliance MLA David Ford has called on the Executive to clear up confusion around the status of its multi-million-pound plan to tackle paramilitarism.

The South Antrim MLA made the request after Justice Minister Claire Sugden publicly disagreed with Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir that the Treasury had withheld its half of a £10 million package designed to fund the Executive’s action plan on paramilitarism. The Finance Minister had previously stated the money was not forthcoming due to the UK Government’s concerns over the plans’ lack of detail.

Mr Ford said it was a failing on the part of the Executive to not prioritise the detail of the plan.

David Ford said : “I previously called the Executive action plan as utterly weak and it appeared the UK Government agreed with me, as the Finance Minister confirmed the Government was withholding funding on it. However, the Justice Minister has now declared there is no issue and there was simply confusion.

“The Executive must immediately clarify the exact position and what the current state of play is with both the action plan itself and its funding. A year ago, the DUP and Sinn Fein committed to releasing a detailed action plan by the end of June.

“However, the deadline was missed and once the ‘action plan’ was finally publicly seen, it lacked any of the strong, time-bound measures needed to effectively tackle paramilitarism. The Executive needs to speedily change that if we are to remove this poison from our society.”

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