ALLIANCE: MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE ON SCHOOLS, HOUSING AND FLAGS

Alliance leader David Ford publishes party blueprint for shared society

Alliance leader David Ford publishes party blueprint for shared society

THE Alliance Party has published what it says should be the executive’s strategy for creating a shared future in Northern Ireland.

And David Ford said building a shared future was the biggest challenge facing Northern Ireland.

The document is published after weeks of protests from loyalists after the Alliance Party’s amendment to fly the Union flag on designated days over Belfast City Hall was voted in by 29-21.

The party pulled out of talks at Stormont on the issue in May last year.

The Justice Minister accused the DUP and Sinn Fein of attempting to create “an illusion” that they were working towards a shared future.

Mr Ford said there had not been enough progress on schools, housing or flags.

On Tuesday, the party launched For Everyone: The Alliance Party Blueprint For An Executive Strategy To Build A Shared and Better Future.

It wants 20 per cent of all children in Northern Ireland to go to integrated schools by 2020, up from the current six per cent.

The Alliance also wants a further 40 per cent of children to go to schools with children from a mix of backgrounds.

And it wants 20 per cent of interface barriers removed over the next decade.

It wants the flying of flags on public roads subjected to regulation, the flying of flags on designated days over public and civic buildings and the negotiation of a common policy for the flying of flags at all district council buildings.

Mr Ford called for all party leaders to commit to an open and inclusive process to deliver an effective strategy.

“Building a shared future in Northern Ireland is the biggest challenge facing our political institutions and wider civic society,” Mr Ford said.

“This challenge has been clear for many years, but has now been brought into even sharper focus by recent events on our streets.

“Continued divisions in our society impact upon people in many ways, including how we live, how we learn, how we work and how we play.

“These divisions bring significant human, social, economic and financial costs.

“By contrast, the creation of a shared future would provide better opportunities for all and significantly assist the development of our economy.”

The document highlights four key areas:

* shared education and services for young people, including more integrated schools

* shared communities, including mixed housing as the norm and the removal of interfaces, with the support of communities

* shared culture for everyone, including a process for regulating parades

* shared approach to the past, including considering a new agency to deal with legacy issues.

 

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