“Alliance looks forward to examining this document in detail…”

According to reports, Northern Ireland “First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness announced that they have agreed a long-awaited programme for cohesion, sharing and integration.” Which is nice… For the Alliance Party leader David Ford. Although, as he is quoted as saying here, “Alliance looks forward to examining this document in detail,” [David Ford] said. “A document is only a start.” And what was all that interface trouble about? [We look forward to examining this document in detail… – Ed] Assuming they intend to publish it… Unlike some other documents. Anything else to announce from Hillsborough Section 4 [pdf file], “Outstanding Executive Business”? And shouldn’t that be in a report to the NI Executive…From the Hillsborough document [pdf file]

Section 4 – Outstanding Executive Business

1. Junior Ministers will chair a Working Group involving all of the Parties in the Executive and oversee an exercise of trawling for and identifying all Executive papers and decisions which are still pending. They will be tasked to provide a report to the Executive detailing the level of progress made on each outstanding matter and Junior Ministers will make recommendations on whether and how progress could be made on any and all outstanding matters by the end of February. This will include a programme of work detailing how any remaining outstanding issues will be resolved.

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  • granni trixie

    There is a god! And before you lot start mocking, to some of us parking the blight of sectarianism and separation instead of tackling it, is a receipe for being stuck in the past.

    David Ford has played a blinder. Good on him.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    “Alliance looks forward to examining this document in detail,”

    Hmmm now let me think about this.
    If that man of principle David Ford rejects this he doesnt get a big job, big salary and big limo.

    If on the other hand he “agrees” this….he will get a big job, big salary and big limo.

    An anxious World awaits.
    Taking a wild guess Id say David will accept it.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Fitz, there is the third scenario. Which is where Ford rejects it, and DUP/SF, given that they have little choice in the matter, go back and make any modifications to it deemed necessary and/or reasonable. Alliance rejecting the document isn’t the end of the story. In fact, putting my cynical hat on, there’s probably a strategic benefit for Alliance to find an excuse to reject it – which would help shake off the idea that the party are yes-men.

    I suspect, though, that the content of the document was already pre-agreed behind the scenes and we are watching the unfolding of yet another choreography. As far as all that goes, let’s see if what they come up with is any good. If it is, then surely there is no reasonable objection to the party accepting it.

  • slug

    I think Alliance should play hard on this – it is their moment. Lets see.

  • The Raven

    Speaking of other business…. Nobody interested in the outworkings – or indeed cancellation – of the local government element of RPA?

    Minister Poots is also a master of deflection; I thought he might have been a bit sharper and quicker off the blocks, especially with his own much-truncated version of space and time

    Sorry to deflect from the main thrust of your post, Pete.

  • granni trixie

    FJH: are you judging people as being like yourself? If DF was into self interest he could easily have caved in when the job was first mooted. He has taken great risks for his convictions regarding pushing for comm. relations strategy to be delivered.

    The job is a poisoned chalace, but I am convinced that he is a person capable of making a go of it.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Comrade Stalin,
    I think youre probably right.
    The choreography has prolly already taken place which would mean theres a certain amount of grandstanding by Alliance party on this.
    Frankly I see benefits iin its acceptance and its rejection.
    Ultimately it doesnt really matter

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Well granni trixie,
    you hold one opinion of David Ford. I hold another.
    Quite possibly you are right.
    Quite possibly I am right.

  • GFASupporterButRealist

    I hope Alliance will play this right. They have the chance of pushing the non-sectarian button here and pushing SF and the DUP, the ultimate sectarians. A Shared Future was shelved long ago and is now being dusted off, thanks to Alliance. The party and D Ford before now and now have to play hard ball to get to secure moves to real joined-up government and also, to make sure, that when D Ford takes up the job, he is secure in taking decisions which SF on some occasions and the DUP on others will not like. That will be the test i.e. security of tenure while the right decisions are taken, not the (to-date) sectarian issue trading which has gone on. It will be hard work but with David Ford and the very bright Dr. Stephen Farry, the P and J spokesman, to advise, they might just be able to pull this off. We shall see. Alliance also will need to have a strong Special Advisor to the Minister who knows how to control the manipulative and unimpressive lickspittles of the NI Civil Service and NIO who are well burrowed into this department and D Ford will need to rely on good strong independent advice from others so that he Ford is not captured by the paper pushers. Good luck Mr. Ford.

  • granni trixie

    Just think of this scenario: Alliance if offered but turns down the job – then they would be accused of not having the guts to take responsibilty. Soe risks you just have to take.

  • Pete Baker


    One point you’re missing from the post.

    Has the Executive been consulted on this “agreed” strategy?

    This is the “new” approach?

  • Pete,

    Looks like the rest of the Executive have not seen it but they will and it will be published for public consultation

    “The Cohesion, Sharing and Integration strategy had been delayed for around two years and will now be circulated to other Ministers in the Executive.”

    “We now have a document agreed by both DUP and Sinn Fein which should shortly go out for public consultation. This is a positive step forward for everyone in Northern Ireland.

    Alliance looks forward to examining this document in detail. We will be making suggestions during the consultation process and when it comes to Committee.”


  • Pete Baker

    Thanks nerdy.

    For confirming that the Executive is still, effectively, being by-passed – by the annoucement of that agreement ahead of any Executive decision.

    After all, if Sinn Féin and the DUP agree then asking the other parties is merely a formality…

    Oh, and thanks for confirming that the Alliance Party don’t have a problem with that.

    “We now have a document agreed by both DUP and Sinn Fein which should shortly go out for public consultation.”


  • granni trixie

    Pete: – not consulting about important matters I totally disagree with – infact Alliance itself has suffered on many occasions (notably St Andrews) because their opinions were not sought.

    I feel sure that if it were up to Alliance, they would value decision making by a process of consensus making which involves discussion with other parties.

  • I wouldn’t say the Executive is being by-passed.

    The document was held up because of disagreements between Sinn fein and the DUP so this is a big step in the process.

    The next step is to get Executive agreement which might or might not be a formality.

    The SDLP don’t seem to be too worried about it not having Executive approval yet…

    SDLP assembly member Alex Attwood said he welcomed “any progress made to create a shared society, promoting good relations and deepening understanding between communities”.


  • Salem

    Alliance havent played a blinder on this issue. All parties have been calling for the publication of the CSI document for a long long while – can name Dolores Kelly as one who has repeately questioned OFMDFM about it.

    The Alliance wish to have the Justice Minister – let them have it and play puppet to OFMDFM.

  • Pete Baker


    “I feel sure that if it were up to Alliance, they would value decision making by a process of consensus making which involves discussion with other parties.”

    Look again.

    Ahead of any Executive discussion, the DUP and Sinn Féin have announced that they have agreed a strategy on a contentious issue. Again.

    Welcome to the semi-detached polit-bureau.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Pete, stop me if I’ve missed something, but who said the executive is being bypassed ? It’s an OFMDFM proposal. Last time I checked, the OFMDFM consists of only Peter and Martin, so why would other parties have been consulted prior to the proposal going before the executive ?

  • Ulick

    Of course this had all be worked beforehand just as the Parades Working Group only had to type up the preagreed proposals on Parades Commission II (without NIO appointees).

  • They’ll do the least possible to get the buy-in. It’s only words and what difference is a CSI document actually going to make to anything?

  • granni trixie

    thedissenter: if we all had your view we would never try to do anything.

    PLus, I thought, as Alliance has made clear in respect of CSI, it is not having a policy doc that counts, but agreeing to actually deliver on it. Or having the will to try.

    Developing a policy document is always an important first step in recognising a problem. But after that you cannot park the policy doc forever, you have to act. That is where we narly are with CSI.