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Alliance slammed over Community Relations Move

24 May, 2012 - by Maeve McLaughlin

Responding to the decision of the Alliance Party to withdraw from the cross party working group on Community relations, Sinn Fein MLA Martina Anderson said:

“Eight Months into the process the Alliance came to the latest meeting and flagged up issues that they said were non negotiable . At no time throughout the 8 months had they brought the package of demands to the table. In fact they were not actively involved in the process. Their representative missed several meetings and on seven occasions he sought the cancellation or postponement of meetings. 

At Monday’s meeting MLA Chris Lyttle claimed that the Alliance party had seven issues which needed to be addressed. They had no paper on these issues. Mr Lyttle then asked for an adjournment to type them up and came back with a sheet with eight bullet points on it as Alliance party bottom lines 

“One of the proposals appeared to amount to ending the Catholic education system. When challenged about this, he pulled back from that position saying the emphasis was on targets for integrated education.

His behaviour at the meeting and the demands he made looked very much like an exit strategy and this was conformed this morning with David Ford’s statement.

The Alliance party view on community relations is very much a minority position.

They are politically wedded to the industry and quangoes who have been working in this sector at great cost to the public purse for decades.

Some would say the Alliance position is more about protecting the status quo in the community relations industry and those who deliver it than any real desire to see cross party agreement on this issue

The Alliance party do not have all the answers when it comes to community relations. Their approach is more of the same.

For over a decade we have been on a journey from conflict and division to peace and there are many tangible signs of progress. Good Relations is an essential part of all of this and we are absolutely committed to delivering on this issue.” ENDS

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