Parties too 'tribal'

 

The implementation of the Belfast Agreement has been stalled not by the agreement's opponents, but by pro-agreement parties primarily concerned with their own tribal interests, the Northern Ireland Assembly was told yesterday.

The allegation was made by the Alliance Party leader, Mr David Ford, during a debate on a Sinn Féin motion calling on all parties to show their support for the principles of the agreement. The motion was passed by 34 votes to 29. The UUP abstained.

The motion was proposed by Sinn Féin's vice president, Mr Pat Doherty. A UUP amendment linking the motion to support for new policing arrangements fell due to a procedural mistake. Mr Ford said it was sad that four years after the signing of the agreement people were still arguing about principles rather than practices.

"The real threat is not coming from the opponents of the Good Friday agreement but from its supporters who have spent the last four years running back to their respective tribes rather than implementing the agreement," he said.