She was speaking after the 25th anniversary was marked of the first sitting of the Assembly, which met for the first time in Castle Buildings on the Stormont Estate.
“It is beyond disappointing and frustrating to have the 25th anniversary of the first sitting of the Assembly pass without a functioning Assembly to mark the event: however, it is embarrassing that the same happened on the 20th anniversary as well,” said Mrs Long.
“The principles and values which underpin the Good Friday Agreement and our institutions are as valid today as they were 25 years ago. However, our society has evolved over the last 25 years and our political structures need to evolve to reflect that.
“Furthermore, repeated cycles of ransom politics have not only tested the structures of government to destruction, but are eroding public confidence in devolution itself. If we wish to ensure the survival of the Good Friday Agreement and our institutions, then it is clear significant change is needed to those structures. The reforms proposed by Alliance, which do not alter the fundamental principles of the Agreement, offer that solution.
“They include a change to the process of nominating a First and deputy First Minister, that would prevent any single party either preventing the formation of government or single-handedly collapsing it. These proposals protect the right of parties to be in government, but also give every party the option to opt out if they choose, something only the two largest parties cannot do under the current system. No party could be excluded, but no party would have a veto over the operation of government, that denies others the right to do their jobs.
“It is shameful the institutions are not functioning on the 25th anniversary of their first sitting, not least given the crisis facing our economy, our public finances and public services. If we are to ensure they do on their 26th anniversary and every anniversary thereafter, we need to acknowledge the fundamental instability and inequality at the heart of our institutions and have the courage and vision to address it via reform. To do otherwise, is to create uncertainty over their long-term survival and to fail this and future generations."