According to the party presser: “Alliance Leader David Ford has said that his party will not nominate a candidate for Justice Minister until there is agreement on a policy programme for the Department of Justice and genuine progress on community relations strategy. He has written to both the First and Deputy First Ministers to inform them of this”. And Ford himself has said:
We cannot nominate a candidate for Minister until a policy programme for the new Department is agreed and there is real and public progress on a new community relations strategy.
There must be an agreed policy programme so that the new Minister can deliver immediately. Policing and justice are far too important to have them becoming issues around which political games are played.
Alliance always does what is best for Northern Ireland and we will be constructive. We cannot however nominate a candidate for Justice Minister until these two issues are dealt with.
The DUP and Sinn Fein need to demonstrate they are serious about making devolved justice work. They must face the realities of what is needed to have effective government. These two matters are essential for Northern Ireland to ensure a stable, peaceful and shared future and an Executive that delivers for the people.
The policy framework would be another of those things the First Minister accused the deputy First Minister’s party is dragging its heels on.. The second would be a matter that both incumbents of OFMdFM would rather just simple ‘went away’… without daring to further speak its own name…
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty