The Alliance Leader was speaking on the first anniversary of the resignation of Paul Givan as First Minister. She said those holding the political institutions hostage needed to reflect on their actions and return to the Executive before more harm was done.
“No matter your political view, it is undeniable there have been a host of difficulties caused by the resignation of the First Minister and subsequent lack of an Executive,” she said.
“Even if an Executive is restored tomorrow, there will be a backlog of decisions left to clear, which will take some time and cause yet more significant opportunities to be missed. It is clear this impasse is doing irreparable damage to our society.
“Many pieces of legislation remain in limbo, awaiting Executive sign-off. That includes hate crime legislation, a strategy to combat violence against women and girls, the organ donation Bill, an environment strategy, a race relations Bill and of course a Budget among many other things.
“Last week, Alliance called for all-party talks to discuss the issue of reform. Our proposals around opt-out Executive participation remain the surest way to not only restore the Executive immediately but secure its long-term future and enable it to deliver for everyone in our society.
“There are 17 Alliance MLAs waiting impatiently to get into the Assembly Chamber and do what they promised to do – deliver for people in their constituencies – but they are being prevented from doing so. That is not acceptable for all those who cast their votes in May.
“It is utterly shameful Northern Ireland has been a year without a First Minister and deputy First Minister, particularly in the midst of a cost of living crisis and the health service crumbling. I urge those causing the deadlock to reflect on their actions and end the impasse before more harm is done.”