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  • October 2017

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  • David Ford
    July 2017

    David Ford MLA has accused other parties of "empty words" after it emerged only Alliance has called for the publication of political donations here to be backdated to 2014.

    Mr Ford was speaking after the Secretary of State finally published responses from local parties to his consultation on bringing donations rules here into line with the rest of the UK. James Brokenshire announced this week donations would be published but only from July 1, 2017.

    This decision is despite Naomi Long previously changing legislation at Westminster which meant the publication could be backdated to January 2014. The publication of the letters by the Secretary of State, which came after pressure from Alliance and media outlets, show Alliance were the only party to request this backdating.

    "These letters show other parties are only paying lip service to transparency and are full of empty words when they say they wish to be fully clear in their dealings. Only Alliance, alongside the Green Party, publish our donations voluntarily and we have done for some time. There is nothing stopping other parties doing so immediately if they so wished.

    "The Secretary of State has a duty to show leadership and stand up for the integrity of local politics. He should have noted the opinions of local parties on this issue and then shown that leadership by publishing donations backdated to 2014. It is the only conclusion anyone looking at this issue with a clear, neutral view could reach.

    "Security reasons being cited for not backdating the publication are bogus - thanks to Naomi Long's legislation, anyone who has donated to a political party here since January 2014 knew their details could be published at a future date. Alliance has also continued to publish our donations, even throughout the campaign of violence against our party.

    "By not backdating the publication of donations here, James Brokenshire has given in and allowed those with self-interest in keeping these details hidden to make the call for him. He should be ashamed and the public should ask what those parties have got to hide."
  • David Ford
    July 2017

    Alliance MLA David Ford has said the Secretary of State, James Brokenshire, has missed an important opportunity to introduce transparency around political donations.

    David Ford said: "At the start of this round of political negotiations, the Alliance Party Leader Naomi Long presented the Secretary of State with a letter calling for him to allow for the publication of political donations from 1 January 2014. Doing so would remove the cynicism and genuine concern around the source of donations to political parties.

  • David Ford
    June 2017

    Alliance MLA, David Ford, has welcomed the £400m agreed for infrastructure between the DUP and the British Government over the next 2 years, whilst making the case for large swathes of the money to be used in South Antrim.

    Speaking after the announcement last week Mr Ford said "Whilst this deal brings huge financial benefit to Northern Ireland I do have concerns at the impact this will have on the Conservative Government acting as an honest broker with all political parties."

  • David Ford
    June 2017

    Alliance MLA David Ford has said the needs of victims must be resolved urgently, after meeting representatives on legacy issues.

    The former Justice Minister was speaking after attending a meeting of the Victims and Survivors Forum in East Belfast. Issues raised included dealing with the past and a pension for those injured in the Troubles.

    Mr Ford said it was a useful opportunity.

    "It was valuable to hear first-hand and in person the views and opinions of victims on a number of matters and likewise, it was beneficial to put across the Alliance stance on issues such as the victims' pension. It is part of an ongoing engagement the party has with victims and I hope it is as useful for them.

    "Alliance has always raised the topic of victims and survivors in the numerous talks processes over the years, and also put proposals to the DUP and Sinn Fein as part of our consideration for retaking the Justice Ministry last year. We had hoped it would resolve outstanding issues around the legacy of the past, however, they were rejected by those two parties.

    "Victims are far too important to be used as a political football, which is precisely how they continue to be treated by some. The current status quo is not sustainable - instead, we need to comprehensively deal with the past so victims and their loved ones can have their issues resolved."
  • David Ford
    May 2017
    Alliance MLA David Ford has called on Arlene Foster to clarify whether she accepts an endorsement for her party from the UDA-linked UPRG group.

    Mr Ford was speaking after the UPRG magazine The Loyalist said it "would strongly urge a vote for Emma Little-Pengelly" in South Belfast. The former Justice Minister said it was particularly troubling, given this week's killing of a man in a packed shopping centre car park, believed to be part of an ongoing UDA feud.

    "Arlene Foster needs to make clear if her party accepts an endorsement by a group closely connected to the UDA. The electorate, particularly in South Belfast where this endorsement was given, deserve to know.

    "It is bad enough to have paramilitaries backing a political party at any time but it is especially troubling in this case, given it comes in the same week as a murder which is believed to be part of a UDA feud. It is now 2017 - paramilitaries should not even exist, never mind be giving ringing endorsements of political candidates.

    "Questions remain over the Social Investment Fund - many thought it as nothing more than a paramilitary slush fund, with a particular emphasis to the UDA. This endorsement of the DUP by that same group does nothing to dispel those views."

  • David Ford
    May 2017

    Alliance MLA David Ford has sent his good wishes to Barra McGrory QC as he announced he will step down as Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

    The former Justice Minister said Mr McGrory, who confirmed he will step down later this year, had led the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) "with skill and integrity during a difficult time due to budget cuts".

    "Barra brought his skills as a solicitor and barrister in private practice to his work as DPP, and despite allegations about some of his previous clients, he acted fairly and properly in that role.
    "Recent attacks on the PPS by a number of Tory and unionist representatives show how important it is politicians are kept away from individual justice issues such as prosecutions.

    "The PPS must follow the evidence and take all decisions impartially. The service has resisted all political pressure and that is a tribute to Barra McGrory's leadership."

  • David Ford
    April 2017

    Alliance MLA David Ford has said he is 'greatly concerned' over reports serious damage has been caused to a local birds' habitat.

    Police have revealed they have launched an investigation after part of the Hydepark Dam, located outside Mallusk, was destroyed; leaving a number of swan eggs exposed and fears the unhatched birds will have perished.

  • David Ford
    March 2017

    David Ford MLA has resubmitted his private member's bill on abortion reform.

    Mr Ford presented his proposal to the Speaker's Office late yesterday (Monday) soon after signing the roll of membership to officially become an MLA again. It had been moved in the previous Assembly mandate but was a casualty of the Executive collapse.

    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. Mr Ford also previously attempted to change the law while Justice Minister.

    "A number of years ago, I made a promise to Sarah Ewart I would try to change the law to allow women such as her who wished to have a termination in a case of FFA to do so in Northern Ireland," he said.

    "I previously attempted to bring legislation to the Executive to allow just that. However, other parties blocked that move and failed to accept my recommendations. The recent collapse of the Assembly also stopped my private member's bill in its tracks, leaving women in those tragic circumstances with no option but to continue the pregnancy or make the traumatic journey across the Irish Sea to seek a termination.

    "The surveys and statistics all show the desire is there in Northern Ireland to change the law. We need to help these women and we need to help them now."
  • David Ford
    February 2017
    Alliance South Antrim candidate David Ford has said the RHI scandal is getting worse, as each day seems to cast new light on the potential for corruption and fraudulent claims.
    Mr Ford was speaking after the BBC reported it had a list of the claimants, which revealed a small number of companies registered as dormant have been claiming tens of thousands of pounds.

    He said there needed to be an urgent investigation.

    "What is potentially fraudulent is some of those claims seem to be for amounts beyond the capacity of the boilers in place. While we are now starting to see just how disastrous this scheme actually is, we could have been in a much better place if DUP Ministers had stepped up and carried out their role in an open, transparent and accountable way.