ALLIANCE Deputy Leader Eileen Bell has said that new Ulster Unionist Party plans for the future of community relations in Northern Ireland are a “recipe for fudge”.
Mrs Bell said: “The UUP wants to contain community relations within the remit of OFMDFM. But this is the same office that was unable to even publish a consultation report into community relations during devolution.
“If implemented, the UUP policy would result in yet more of the total lack of action needed to tackle the twin problems of sectarianism and segregation that have major economic, financial and social costs for everyone.
“The UUP is clearly inequipped for dealing with community relations, as the recent scandal over its stance over the Carnmoney cemetery protest illustrated.
“The attitude of the Ulster Unionists historically has been to downplay the problem and turn a blind eye to the obvious. Indeed, it could be argued that the UUP itself has operated as a barrier to achieving a shared, pluralist society.
“Instead of abolishing the Community Relations Council, Alliance would propose that it be reformed for the delivery of programmes and governmental responsibilities for community relations should be placed in a dedicated department. It is simply to important to be left on the shelf by a disinterested First Minister and his sidekick.”