Dr Stephen Farry MLA stated: “The political infighting and sniping surrounding Peter Robinson’s comments regarding the necessary reforms of our political institutions risks us losing sight of what is in the real interests of the people of Northern Ireland.
“The institutions are based on the assumption of bad faith, with the consequent creation of mutual vetoes. This is a recipe for paralysis and the entrenchment of the status quo. Northern Ireland needs fair and efficient government that is capable of responding to challenges and is flexible enough to take advantage of new economic and social opportunities.
“Reform is part and parcel of providing good government and progressive policies. The voting system not only institutionalises sectarianism, but also means that the MLAs’ votes are not equal. It also allows some parties to hold the political process hostage and acts as a barrier to political realignment. Mandatory coalition is a recipe for incoherence and lack of cohesion in government, with no collective responsibility.
“Reform should threaten no-one. The key to reform lies in building confidence that such reforms are not targeted against any particular section of the community or any political party. While fingers can be pointed at Sinn Fein for frustrating the development of a community relations policy, the DUP stand accused of blocking the creation of an independent Environmental Protection Agency, despite the support of four other groups in the Assembly.”