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Stormont strategy for shared future put on hold... again

The Executive’s long-delayed plan to tackle sectarianism — which was due to be published this week — may not come out until the autumn.

It has also emerged that a review of housing segregation in Northern Ireland is to be included in the Cohesion, Sharing and Integration (CSI) plan for a shared future.

The proposal for an independent examination of the lack of mixed-religion housing is set to form a key part of the long-awaited report from a multi-party Stormont working group.

The team of MLAs drawing up plans to tackle sectarianism — from which the Alliance Party resigned six weeks ago — is expected to work through the Assembly summer recess, which starts tomorrow.

In May Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness told this newspaper they would have a document published “within weeks” — and both predicted it would be ready before the summer recess.

But yesterday Stormont sources signalled that although “good work has been done”, nothing will be ready for the next Executive meeting. They hope to produce a paper over the summer recess — although there are claims it may not be made public until autumn.

The CSI document will be first sent to Mr Robinson and Mr McGuinness, who instigated the review after the original proposals were rejected by a wide range of figures prominent in community relations.

But now the leaders of all the main parties — the Ulster Unionist boss Mike Nesbitt (below), the SDLP’s Alasdair McDonnell and Alliance chief David Ford — will also be shown the final paper before it is published.

While the Stormont group is working on the basis that ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’, it is understood the review of segregated housing was finalised before Alliance’s Chris Lyttle quit, citing a lack of progress.

A stumbling block on the group is said to be an agreed policy on the flying of flags.

Belfast Telegraph