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Alliance Manifesto Launch

David Ford- Leader of Alliance

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  • David Ford
    1 September

    Alliance Release: Ford welcomes new chair of Alliance Youth

    Alliance Party leader David Ford MLA has welcomed the election of Néidín Hendron as chair of Alliance Youth.

    Mr Ford was speaking after Ms Hendron was elected by fellow Alliance Youth members at the organisation's AGM held on 31 August. She will be in the role for the next year.

  • David Ford
    17 August

    Alliance South Antrim MLA David Ford has said he hopes a new investment in a local dual carriageway will lead to increased road safety throughout the constituency.


    Mr Ford was speaking as Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard announced £160 million is to be invested in the A6 Randalstown to Castledawson Dualling Scheme. Work will begin in October, and will see 7.3 kilometres developed between Randalstown and Toome, and 7.4 kilometres between Toome and Castledawson.


    "This investment is long overdue and will improve the links across South Antrim," said Mr Ford.


    "I hope it will increase road safety throughout the constituency and beyond. Road accidents ruin lives and wreck families, and we need to tackle this devastating issue.


    "In addition, it is also important the Minister has a costed strategic plan to maintain our roads, particularly in rural areas. This would stop the need for costly repairs down the line, meaning money could be spent on further improvement projects for local people instead."
  • David Ford
    20 July

    Alliance Leader David Ford has said an Executive response to an independent report on paramilitarism is "utterly weak" after it failed to state a number of expected timescales and objectives.



    The 'Fresh Start Panel report on the Disbandment of Paramilitary Groups,' by an independent three-person panel, was given to Ministers on time at the end of May, with the Executive due to make public its response by the end of June. However, the reaction was only published yesterday.



    Mr Ford said the poor Executive response was "not what was needed to combat paramilitarism".



    "The fact the Executive took so long after receiving the report to make public its response did not bode well and unfortunately, that has proven to be the case. Throughout the Executive response, there appears to be a lot of non-specific language, with no timescales, and little indication of funding to be provided. Without any measurable objectives, it would be simple for the Executive to fudge its actions over this matter.



    "The response also commits many of the recommendations to existing reviews and processes, rather than demonstrating innovative thinking, which is what any action plan seeking to tackle paramilitarism needs to do.



    "Had I still been Minister of Justice, I would have expected the Executive response to contain clear targets, identifying which Department had responsibility, timescales for implementation, and funding to be provided. Instead, we have a series of vague generalisations, some merely accepting the panel's report without anything specific.



    "The so-called Fresh Start Agreement states the Executive shall make efforts to reduce community division, and the causes of sectarianism and racism here. However, this response fails to mention the words sectarianism, racism or integration.



    "That is just one example but the response contains many more glaring omissions, with some vital areas only mentioned in passing. This poor response was not what was needed - we instead need a clearer document with specific timescales, measurable outcomes and strong commitments if we are to remove the stain of paramilitarism from our society."

  • David Ford
    19 July

    Alliance Agriculture spokesperson David Ford MLA has said the DUP are showing "breath-taking hypocrisy" after the Agriculture Minister travelled to Brussels seeking aid for local farmers.



    Michelle McIlveen of the DUP, whose party campaigned for Brexit, attended the European Agriculture Council to meet with the European Agriculture Commissioner among others to discuss details of support payments to farmers.



    South Antrim MLA Mr Ford said the Minister's actions merely highlighted the DUP's hypocrisy around the EU referendum.



    "As is a matter of public record, the Minister and her party campaigned for a Leave vote in the recent referendum, despite the benefits farmers in Northern Ireland have had within the EU.



    "Alliance laid out before the referendum how Brexit was the biggest threat facing the farming industry here, saying it would be a disaster. The former Prime Minister sought to reduce agricultural support in his negotiations before the referendum, so many livelihoods are already at risk.



    "It is nice of the Minister to state the agri-food sector is the backbone of the local economy, however, it might be too late for many farmers, who will look at this breath-taking hypocrisy by the DUP and rightly ask where the support from that party was during the referendum campaign."
  • David Ford
    14 July

    Alliance Leader David Ford MLA has called on new Northern Ireland Secretary of State James Brokenshire to recognise the desire of the majority of people here to remain in the EU.



    Mr Ford was speaking after Mr Brokenshire was announced in the role by new Prime Minister Theresa May, to replace Theresa Villiers.



    "I congratulate Mr Brokenshire on his appointment as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, having worked closely with him during my time as Minister of Justice," said Mr Ford.



    "I trust his experience during that period will help him bring a balanced view to the role of Secretary of State. Part of that role will be to recognise the majority of people in Northern Ireland voted to remain within the EU and to start work immediately on the particular circumstances of that.



    "That will involve fighting for Northern Ireland in any Brexit negotiations, by articulating he will be an active advocate of the interests of Northern Ireland, both within the Cabinet and within EU discussions.



    "I also wish to thank Theresa Villiers for her service as Secretary of State. Although we didn't always see eye to eye on certain subjects, her time in office required dealing with a number of serious political challenges, while she also presided over a number of political agreements.



    "However, the difficulties that led to those agreements and the problems implementing them showcase the tensions and unresolved issues among other parties that continue to limit Northern Ireland's true potential."
  • David Ford
    13 July

    Alliance Leader David Ford has said Theresa May has a tough job ahead, as he congratulated her on her appointment as Prime Minister on Wednesday.

    David Ford MLA said: "I congratulate Theresa May to her elevation to Prime Minister and offer her the best wishes of the Alliance Party for the many challenges that lie ahead.

  • David Ford
    12 July

    Alliance Leader David Ford described Danny Kinahan's decision to publish a photo on social media standing in front of a bonfire ready to burn an Irish Tricolour as 'completely unacceptable'

    Speaking after the UUP MLA apologised for his actions, Mr Ford said it was 'an error of judgement' that should not have happened.

  • David Ford
    6 July

    Alliance Leader David Ford has said former Prime Minister Tony Blair should apologise to the country, after the Chilcot Report revealed he had taken the UK to war in Iraq before all peaceful options had been exhausted.



    The report, launched today by Sir John Chilcot, looks at the UK's involvement in the 2003 Iraq War and lessons to be learned. It states the UK chose to join the invasion of Iraq, despite other actions still being available; judgements around weapons of mass destruction were not justified; intelligence had not established beyond doubt Saddam Hussein was producing chemical and biological weapons, and the circumstances of the legal basis for the UK's military action were far from satisfactory.



    "Despite other achievements such as the Good Friday Agreement, the Iraq war, its lead-up and fallout will define Tony Blair's time in office," said South Antrim MLA Mr Ford.



    "Thousands of people died, including 179 British soldiers, while more people were injured and displaced due to the war. We must not forget about them and their loved ones today. Mr Blair needs to now admit to his mistakes and at points dishonesty, and apologise publicly for his actions.



    "Alliance is not a pacifist party and we accept there are some circumstances in which the use of military force can be justified as a last resort. However, we also back the rule of law, which internationally means respecting the will and authority of the UN. That did not happen in this case.



    "Today's report shows the UK entered a major war under false pretences and without properly exploring the consequences, reverberations which are still being felt today. We try to set ourselves to a higher moral standard. Clearly in this case, Mr Blair and others did not meet that. There should be reflections and thoughts about next actions from those quarters today."
  • David Ford
    4 July

    David Ford MLA has called on the First and deputy First Minister to publicly announce the Executive response to a major panel report on paramilitarism.



    The Alliance Leader has written to Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness to determine when the Executive reaction to the 'Fresh Start Panel report on the Disbandment of Paramilitary Groups' will be published. The report, by an independent three-person panel, was made public on June 7, and as part of the 'Fresh Start' agreement, it was stated an Executive response would be published by the end of June.



    In last week's Assembly, Mr Ford's party colleague Kellie Armstrong received a commitment from the First Minister the report would be published by the end of June, which has since passed.



    "This report was launched in a blaze of publicity by the Executive as part of a reaction to events last year, including serious violence," said Mr Ford.



    "However, the Executive has not followed up in terms of making public its response to the report. That is simply not good enough. We need to remove the poison of paramilitarism from our society.



    "Part of that is having a co-ordinated plan by the Executive, which has been seen and voted on by the Assembly. To have not even seen an Executive response almost a month after the report was published, despite a clear commitment last year, shows the lack of respect the new Executive clearly has for the rest of the institutions and for the people who so desperately wish to see an end to all paramilitary activity."
  • David Ford
    1 July

    Alliance Leader David Ford has said we must never forget the sacrifice of those who died at the Battle of the Somme, as commemorations take place to mark the 100th anniversary of the event.



    Mr Ford was speaking after a ceremony he attended in Ballynure, in his South Antrim constituency, to remember the battle, where thousands of Irishmen were killed. The opening day remains the bloodiest in British Army history.



    "One hundred years ago today, many young men from this island were sent over the top to their deaths," said Mr Ford.



    "By the end of the battle, thousands of soldiers from both the 36th Ulster and 16th Irish divisions met their fates. It is vital we remember that sacrifice.



    "It is essential we make commemorations for events such as the Somme as inclusive as possible, so everyone can feel comfortable attending ceremonies and marking them. We all must do all that is possible to honour the young men who did not return from the battlefields of both world wars, as well as other conflicts.



    "Each generation should be reminded of the sacrifice made by their forefathers, so we can learn from mistakes and ensure the slaughter is not repeated."