Belfast Telegraph

David Ford has been a total failure

Johnny Andrews is economy spokesman for the NI Conservatives
Johnny Andrews is economy spokesman for the NI Conservatives

By Johnny Andrews

David Ford announced recently that he will not seek to remain Justice Minister after the Assembly election. For almost six years Ford's troubled department propped up a carve-up of power between the DUP and Sinn Fein and he leaves the job in May having failed abjectly to deliver on a promised shared future.

His party claimed it took the post on the basis that progress would be made on a Cohesion, Sharing and Integration (CSI) strategy, but the resulting document was delivered late, with yawning gaps and is now dead, with the committee responsible disbanded.

Alliance shares responsibility with the Ulster Unionists, who walked away from the committee without a plan to replace it. In contrast, Conservatives were the force behind CSI, with David Cameron emphasising its importance.

The past is an area which creates problems in Northern Ireland's present and Alliance failed to deliver on this issue, too. Likewise, Alliance made a hash of the flag debate and, as a result, the issue was put on the back-burner.

Where were innovative solutions - like making the St Patrick's Cross Northern Ireland's official flag? We would then have had an option to fly it all-year round on council buildings.

Under the minister a small number of contentious parades caused disruption for the general public - most of whom just want to get on with their lives in peace.

We're suggesting that organisers should be required to lodge a refundable deposit with the Parades Commission when they apply for a parade or a protest. This money could be retained if the behaviour of paraders or protesters causes extra expense for the police or damage to property.

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Under David Ford we continue to see too many peace walls in Northern Ireland because Alliance props up a political dispensation where the real power lies with the DUP and Sinn Fein.

Until we have a minister who has the single-mindedness and determination to stand up to the DUP/Sinn Fein, we're unlikely to see real progress.

As it is, the so-called "non-sectarian party" is propping up sectarian carve-up at Stormont.

Johnny Andrews is economy spokesman for the NI Conservatives

Belfast Telegraph


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