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  • 18 January

    Alliance MLA David Ford has sent best wishes to the brother and sister injured in a car accident near Randalstown. It is understood the children had just got off a bus from school when they were struck by a car.

    David Ford said: "This accident is very distressing for the family and the many other people affected, including the emergency services and the drivers. I would offer my thoughts and prayers for a speedy and full recovery for the children."

  • David Ford
    17 January

    Alliance MLA David Ford has said he is disappointed his Bill on abortion reform will fall due to the collapse of the Assembly but he has pledged if re-elected he will submit it once again.

    Mr Ford's attempted private member's Bill, which was officially moved earlier this month, is one of the casualties of the end of the Assembly term ahead of an election on March 2. The proposed legislation sought to reform the law around termination of pregnancy in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities. It would have enabled women carrying a foetus with a fatal abnormality to access a termination legally in Northern Ireland.

    However, the South Antrim MLA said it was not the end of the matter.

    "This reform is desperately needed for many women across Northern Ireland who wish to access terminations, therefore it is incredibly disappointing the collapse of the Assembly has meant it will proceed no further than the first stage.

    "Should the people of South Antrim re-elect me to the position of their MLA, on my first day back I will go to the Speaker's Office and resubmit my Bill, with a view to progressing it through the next Assembly term.

    "A wide-ranging consultation has already been carried out on this issue by the Department of Justice. We know the desire is there in Northern Ireland for change to the law. We need to help the women who wish to seek a termination in these dreadful circumstances and we need to help them as quickly as possible."
  • David Ford
    4 January

    Alliance MLA David Ford has said it is no coincidence the Secretary of State has announced a consultation into the transparency of political donors, given recent increased pressure by Alliance on the issue.

    Mr Ford was speaking after James Brokenshire stated he would be writing to local parties to seek their views on ending the current exemption, which sees donors kept secret, unlike across the rest of the UK.

    Legislative change secured by Naomi Long at Westminster means names of single donors of over £7,500 since January 2014 will be published, in line with parties in Britain, as soon as the Secretary of State allows it.

    "This is a welcome move, despite the fact the Secretary of State could simply make the change right now with a sweep of his pen," said Mr Ford.

    "However, I don't believe today's announcement is a coincidence - Alliance has continually been keeping the pressure on the rest of the local parties to follow our example and reveal donors voluntarily in line with the rest of the UK, particularly given allegations around the RHI scheme.

    "Only yesterday, a motion at Belfast City Council brought by my colleague Councillor Kate Nicholl calling for donor transparency was passed, albeit with the DUP and UUP voting against it. It showed once again the time is right to let the public see just who is funding our parties and if they are exerting any influence.

    "If people and parties have got nothing to hide, they will be able to support an immediate change in the law. The time for consultation has long past and the Secretary of State needs to act now."
  • David Ford
    December 2016

    David Ford MLA has called on the Health Minister and Justice Minister to release the report of the working group on fatal foetal abnormality (FFA) after his private member's bill on the matter began its passage in the Assembly.

    Mr Ford made his request in two letters, one to Health Minister Michelle O'Neill and one to Justice Minister Claire Sugden, which were delivered immediately after the Bill was officially moved in the Assembly today (Tuesday). The next stage will come in the new year, but Mr Ford said the Executive should clarify matters by releasing the report now.

    "This working group was established by the Executive earlier this year, in order for the DUP to get through the election without having to make a decision on this vital issue. The report was sent to Ministers in October, but we are still waiting to see it published.

    "As a result of the introduction of my Bill on FFA, I am expecting significant interest from other MLAs and the public on the issues surrounding this matter. Therefore, I believe this would be the right time to release the report of the working group.

    "It would give the Assembly the longest possible period of time to consider the working group's recommendations in relation to the Bill. I call on the Ministers to release this report publicly at the earliest opportunity and help move along the process. This would give people the opportunity to consider the legislative change needed to help women who decide to seek a termination in these traumatic circumstances."
  • David Ford
    December 2016

    David Ford MLA's private member's bill on abortion reform will be officially moved in the Assembly tomorrow (Tuesday), after it was accepted by Stormont's Business Office.

    The proposed legislation seeks to reform the law around termination of pregnancy in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities (FFA). If passed, it would enable women carrying a foetus with a fatal abnormality to access a termination legally in Northern Ireland. It follows a previous attempt by Mr Ford to change the law while Justice Minister. The next stage will take place in the new year.

    "I am pleased the Speaker's Office has now decided to accept my private member's bill and begin the process which I hope leads to the reform desperately needed for women in Northern Ireland who wish to access terminations," he said.

    "As Justice Minister, I attempted to bring legislation to the Executive to allow that but other parties blocked it and failed to accept my recommendations. That left women in those circumstances with no option but to continue the pregnancy or make the journey to England to seek a termination.

    "My Bill solely deals with abortion in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities. I hope it will be the next step on the road to both confronting and changing the reality of the situation women given such a diagnosis currently face."
  • David Ford
    December 2016

    Alliance MLA David Ford has said that he remains very concerned by the potential damage to the services offered by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) when the Department's new headquarters opens at Ballykelly.

    David Ford was commenting after he questioned DAERA officials at the Assembly committee.

  • David Ford
    November 2016

    Alliance MLA David Ford has said the Executive is failing in its duty to develop and implement a strategy to end paramilitary activity.

    Mr Ford was speaking after questioning Secretary of State James Brokenshire at the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly in Cardiff today (Monday) on the funding for the Executive's anti-paramilitarism action plan, which Mr Brokenshire confirmed the Executive had not applied for this year.

    "While the Secretary of State claimed the Executive has taken important actions, he didn't explain what they were," said Mr Ford.

    "What is clear, is Ministers have not agreed the detailed action plan they were supposed to develop by the end of June. The three-person panel delivered their report on time by the end of May. Six months later, the Executive has failed to deliver the follow-up the DUP and Sinn Fein committed to prepare within a month in their so-called Fresh Start agreement a year ago.

    "At a time when we face a threat from both republican and loyalist terrorism, there seems to have been a lack of concern on behalf of Ministers to build on the panel report and take the lead in tackling those who are trying to drag us back.

    "No amount of fine words by the Secretary of State can obscure the continuing failure of the Executive. It is long past time all Ministers lived up to their responsibilities."

  • David Ford
    November 2016
    Alliance South Antrim MLA David Ford has highlighted the potential financial loss to Northern Ireland's agriculture sector following Brexit.
    Mr Ford was speaking in support of an Assembly debate, which called on the Agriculture Minister to develop a strategy to support the agriculture and agri-food sectors following Brexit.
  • David Ford
    November 2016

    David Ford has called the decision by United to cancel the Belfast to Newark flight as regrettable. The route, being the only link between Northern Ireland and North America, will be cancelled from January after the airline blamed poor financial performance.

    Mr Ford said 'I think this decision is regrettable and trust it will come as a blow to the team at Belfast International Airport who have been working hard to attract new routes, especially to North America, given the existing and ever increasing business opportunities in that part of the world. This route provided a considerable level of business for the Airport and it appeared more likely that routes would increase over time, which makes this news especially concerning.'

  • David Ford
    October 2016

    David Ford MLA has said he is disappointed a legal challenge against Brexit has been rejected by the High Court but added he will continue to explore every available avenue to fight the matter.

    The Alliance MLA was speaking after a judge ruled against two separate proceedings - one from a cross-party of MLAs and another by victims' campaigner Raymond McCord.

    Mr Ford said despite the judgement, valid concerns around the impact of a Brexit remain.

    "Regardless of the eventual resolution of these legal cases, a one size fits all approach to Brexit across the UK simply doesn't work, particularly in relation to Northern Ireland. The choice here is not between a special status or no special status, but rather a negotiated special status or major anomalies emerging.

    "There are too many issues particular to this region, such as cross-border trade, the nature of our economy and the protection of the Good Friday Agreement. The people have spoken in Northern Ireland in favour of the latter and staying within the EU. Brexit cannot be allowed to compromise that.

    "The key linkage around the EU is until now the UK and Ireland have moved in unison around key issues of the movement of people and goods. This is no longer tenable in the context of one state inside and another state outside the EU. Yet, these freedoms are intrinsic to the peace process and our economy prosperity."