Alliance Party representative for South Belfast, Allan Leonard, was part of an Alliance delegation that met Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern. The delegation addressed the Irish Government’s role in implementing ‘A Shared Future’ policy, expressed its concerns over ‘on-the-run’ legislation, as well as how to restore devolution to Northern Ireland.
The delegation also included Alliance Party Leader, David Ford MLA, former Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Tom Ekin, and Newtownabbey Deputy Mayor, Councillor Lynn Frazer.
Speaking at Leinster House, Allan Leonard, Alliance Party General Secretary, said:
“The Shared Future document says that we cannot continue to create public policy based on segregation. Such policy is wrong, both morally and financially. The Alliance Party has argued this for a long time, and at last the British and Irish Governments are beginning to recognise this. It would not be acceptable to have segregated policies in the South, and it is not acceptable in the North.
“I impressed upon the Taoiseach that implementing a Shared Future is so important to Alliance, that we have made an unsolicited submission to OFMDFM of an action plan.
“I also raised Alliance’s concerns about proposed legislation on ‘on-the-runs’. Victims of the conflict and their loved ones must be a core part of the process. No law-abiding citizen on any part of this island should have to put up with people let off with appalling crimes without facing a court. To disrespect this would destabilise society in the North, just as it would do so in the South.
“On the way forward, we told the Taoiseach that Alliance looks forward to future talks on the restoration of devolution in Northern Ireland. I emphasised the significant role the Irish Government has in this process, which must involve all the Assembly political parties. This must be carried out so that there is a genuine consensus, not tribal trade-offs. This is the only way to ensure a stable future.”