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  • 25 May
    12.6 KiB document

    This is the privacy statement for David Ford MLA which outlines how he and his team will use any data supplied to his office.

  • David Ford MLA
    22 May

    Alliance MLA David Ford has welcomed the Department of Justice establishing a working group to examine the education and training opportunities for separated prisoners in Maghaberry Prison.

    Mr Ford was speaking after the DOJ announced the review, which will engage with stakeholders over the summer and report in the autumn. It is part of the recommendations of the Fresh Start Panel Report and the Executive's action plan for tackling paramilitarism

    "The panel on ending paramilitarism made a specific recommendation on ensuring paramilitary-linked prisoners are able to access appropriate education and training," he said.

    "I welcome today's news the DOJ has set up a working group to examine how to implement this recommendation. It is important for the future protection of society those in separated conditions have educational opportunities similar to the mainstream prison population.

    "This is a further step in the prison reform programme which will build on the good work already being done in Maghaberry. I wish the working group well in their task. It is also important the governments and the five parties make real efforts to ensure there is a Minister in place to take action based on the group's recommendations when they come forward."
  • David Ford MLA
    22 May

    Alliance MLA David Ford has said the values of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) remain the best way to move Northern Ireland forward.

    Mr Ford was speaking on the 20th anniversary of the GFA referendum, which saw over 71 per cent of voters in Northern Ireland back the yes campaign.

    "There is no doubt our politics is in crisis, more so than it has been for a number of years - from the lack of an Executive, to setbacks in trying to re-establish power-sharing and the impending disaster of Brexit. But it is vital to remember how far we have progressed as a society because of the GFA," said Mr Ford.

    "As a result of it, we have witnessed a complete transformation across Northern Ireland. Its hope was not just for a stable and peaceful future, but one in which we were fully integrated as a community with sustainable political institutions and a prosperous Northern Ireland delivering for everyone.

    "To get back to that, the Secretary of State needs to convene all-party talks with an independent mediator who can engage with everyone, with a view to rebuilding trust between parties and making devolution work again.

    "While it is not perfect, the spirit of the GFA remains the best basis on which to build further progress. What we were once capable of, we can be capable of again. Twenty years after the resounding backing of the people of Northern Ireland, the positive vision, bold ideas and strong leadership given by the GFA remain the only ways to move our society forward."
  • 17 May

    Alliance representatives have called for the requirements of the agri-food sector to be central to a special deal for Northern Ireland in the event of Brexit.

    Speaking from the Balmoral Show, Party Brexit spokesperson Stephen Farry MLA and Agriculture spokesperson David Ford MLA said the sector was of central importance to the local economy, representing around 10 per cent of activity and providing over 80,000 jobs.

    "The profile of our economy is significantly different from the UK as a whole and therefore highlights very clearly the importance of a strong local voice in Brexit negotiations," said Dr Farry.

    "If Brexit does happen, Alliance wants to see an outcome in which the UK as a whole remains in a Customs Union with the EU and at least Northern Ireland continuing to participate in the Single Market. This configuration is fundamental to the future of local economy overall and in particular the agri-food sector."

    "There are four main challenges facing the sector," said Mr Ford.

    "Maintaining open and frictionless borders across these islands and with Europe is one - both access to markets and supply-chains on this island need to be protected. Secondly, access to labour, including EEA Nationals, must be preserved. There is an existing heavy dependency on the free movement of labour.

    "Existing frameworks around regulation should also remain in place. Northern Ireland's product is high quality and standards around food safety are of central importance. Lastly, there needs to be a revised system of farm support, including the UK Government providing sufficient resources outside those provided through the Barnett Formula in recognition of our much greater reliance on financial support from the EU relative to other parts of the UK."
  • 14 May

    South Antrim Alliance representatives has welcomed plans to halt plans for an Arc 21 Waste Incinerator at Mallusk.

    Recognising the efforts of local campaign group NoArc 21, David Ford MLA said the Court decision meant that there was an urgent need to clarify the ability of either the Secretary of State or the Civil Service to take decisions affecting the future of Northern Ireland.

  • 12 May
    In The Newsletter

    In last week's News Letter Weekend supplement, Sandra Chapman said problems on the border can be solved by technology ('Are Brexit rows leading to insecurity and mayhem?' May 4 2018).

    As Minister of Justice for Northern Ireland, I saw how a small number of people are already exploiting the difference in tobacco and fuel tax.

  • David Ford MLA Pen
    11 May

    Alliance MLA David Ford has welcomed publication of the UK Government's consultation on legacy aspects of the Stormont House Agreement but warned vital aspects of dealing with the past are still to be resolved.

    Mr Ford was speaking after the Government announced the document, entitled Addressing the Legacy of Northern Ireland's Past, will be released for consultation until September 10 and is available at gov.uk/nio.

    "I welcome the UK Government pressing ahead with the publication of this document. Victims and survivors of the Troubles are too important to have their issues kicked about and turned into point-scoring exercises," he said.

    "I am relieved there is no mention of a proposed statute of limitations for soldiers accused of unlawful killings. Such a move would not only have been contrary to the rule of law and human rights obligations, but undermined the contribution of the vast majority of those who served in Northern Ireland honourably. It also lay outside of Stormont House and would have seriously jeopardised the integrity of that Agreement.

    "However, other issues of critical importance to victims need to be resolved urgently. First, the pension for those severely injured needs to be progressed through its own consultation either directly through the NIO or via the Secretary of State asking the Civil Service to initiate. Second, the NIO need to address the funding of legacy inquests, in particular on the back of the recent High Court judgement."
  • David Ford MLA
    30 April

    Alliance South Antrim MLA David Ford has welcomed the announcement a local fishery will be one of the venues hosting the 18th Commonwealth Fly Fishing Championships.

    Straid Fishery in Ballyclare will be one of the venues for the event in September.

    "I would like to congratulate Ray McKeeman and his team at the Straid Fishery for securing the championships and bringing them to Northern Ireland for the first time," said Mr Ford.

    "This event is going to bring people from across the Commonwealth to South Antrim and will be a boost to our local economy.

    "It is a great sign Northern Ireland continues to play its part on the international stage and comes on top of the work already being done by the team at Straid in encouraging people to get outdoors and get active through angling.

    "I want to wish them the best with their preparations in the months ahead."

  • David Ford MLA Pen
    25 April

    David Ford MLA has welcomed the impending publication of an inter-Departmental report which recommends changes in abortion law here.

    The working group on fatal foetal abnormality, set up before the election in May 2016, will recommend the 'law be changed to provide for termination of pregnancy where an abnormality is of such a nature as to be likely to cause death either before birth, during birth or in the early period after birth'. The full report will be published by the Department of Justice and Department of Health today (Wednesday).

    Mr Ford, who attempted to bring changes to the law when Justice Minister, said it was long overdue.

    "The report provides full justification for the actions I took as Minister of Justice to allow abortion in cases where the foetus has no prospect of a viable life. I believe that would have eased the trauma some women go through every year, though - of course - any such decision would have been for the individual woman based on a full medical assessment.

    "Unfortunately, the Executive blocked my proposals, which were based on firm evidence from a detailed consultation process. The question needs to be asked of how many women have suffered since I made a promise to Sarah Ewart I would try to change the law some years ago.

    "While we unfortunately have no Executive currently in place to take this forward, I believe we now have irrefutable evidence of the need to legislate to allow women in Northern Ireland to access abortion in the traumatic circumstances where they are given a diagnosis a child will not survive."
  • David Ford MLA
    22 March

    Alliance MLA David Ford has welcomed the establishment of a specialist domestic violence court in Derry-Londonderry.

    The Domestic Violence Perpetrators' Programme will work with offenders to modify their behaviour, aiming to reduce reoffending and encourage more victims to come forward. Around 30 offenders will take part in the nine-month pilot programme.

    "The new arrangements for a problem solving domestic violence court follow on from the work done by Mr McElholm, the district judge, in arranging separate sittings of his court for domestic violence cases," said Mr Ford.

    "When I visited the local courthouse as Minister of Justice, I heard about the benefits achieved, allowing social workers and support groups such as Women's Aid to make better use of their time.

    "This new arrangement will allow for closer involvement by judges in cases before a perpetrator is sentenced. I have personally discussed with judges in New York and in London how this can reinforce the work of probation officers and social workers in helping to rehabilitate offenders and better protect the community.

    "I am pleased we are now seeing the first such specialist court operational in Northern Ireland and believe it will benefit the victims of domestic abuse and the wider community by reducing re-offending.

    "I congratulate all those involved in this initiative - the Lord Chief Justice, Mr McElholm and his judicial colleagues, the Probation Board and local probation staff, and officials from the Department of Justice. I look forward to the establishment of other specialist courts across Northern Ireland to meet the needs of our community."