Alliance representative for South Belfast, Allan Leonard, has said the debacle of the first meeting of the Assembly’s Restoration Committee — set up to progress work on achieving full devolution to Northern Ireland — shows that the Government’s “quick fix” strategy has utterly failed.
Speaking after today’s failed meeting, Allan Leonard, who is also Alliance General Secretary, said: “The nonsense this morning shows that the Assembly parties couldn’t even agree on arrangements for chairing the committee. This means that the Governments, as signatories of the Agreement, must fundamentally re-assess how far we have to go.
“We in Alliance had reservations about the value of this committee, but we attended to do a job for the people we represent. But we will not take on other people’s jobs for them. There are many issues to be covered, there are genuine difficulties to recognise, and all parties have a duty to take their share of responsibility.
“The Government ‘strategy’ of trying to arrange a quick fix between the DUP and Sinn Fein has been blown out of the water. If they cannot even agree on how to chair a meeting, what hope is there that they will agree to form an Executive within the next six months?
“Every day wasted until the Government takes the lead and convenes all-party inclusive talks makes it less likely that the fundamental problems with the Agreement will be resolved.
“That is why we are demanding all-party talks right now.”