‘Voluntary coalition would survive IRA activity’

AS the ‘ceasefires’ of the UDA and IRA fall under the spotlight again today, Alliance Leader David Ford has said paramilitaries should end all attacks, whether on their own community or not.

Mr Ford said: ” It’s not up to paramilitaries to define ceasefires in their own terms They must instead live up to what we all define as an end to paramilitary activity. Paragraph 13 of the Joint Declaration spells out what is required, and that is the only criteria that should be used – not whether attacks were confined to the paramilitaries’ own community.

“The term ‘ceasefire’ has been devalued so much by both paramilitaries and government that it no longer carries any meaningful significance. That is why Alliance wants an end to all targeting, beatings, attacks, intelligence gathering, arms procurement and exiling by the IRA, UDA and all other armed groups. Alliance doesn’t just want ceasefires, we want an end to community terrorism in all its forms.”

Mr Ford said that the alleged kidnapping of a man by the IRA at the weekend also illustrated why the Review of the Agreement needed to come up with sustainable structures for governance.

Mr Ford stated: “We need to build structures that could survive future incidents of a paramilitary nature, although obviously they should end immediately. An enforced coalition, like the one in the suspended Assembly, would not have survived a crisis like last Friday.

“However, a voluntary coalition would have ensured the Assembly did not fall. In a voluntary situation, parties are operating together and would have to deal with the situation or be replaced by another coalition in which the partners had confidence in each other.”

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