Westminster report a strong endorsement of the need for reform, says Farry

The Westminster report into the operations of the institutions here is a strong endorsement of the need for reform, Alliance MP Stephen Farry has said.

Political Reform Stephen Farry

The North Down MP said the groundswell of support for reform recently had been evidenced by a number of polls, backing the need for evolution of the Good Friday Agreement.

“This is a welcome report from the NI Affairs Committee and as a member of that Committee, I was pleased to play a constructive role in deliberations,” said Dr Farry.

“The report is a significant and strong endorsement of reform of the structures and institutions of the Good Friday Agreement. It was always envisaged the Agreement would evolve to meet changing demographics and circumstances, whilst respecting and preserving its underlying principles.

“The past 25 years have demonstrated an underlying instability, unfairness and lack of effectiveness of the institutions. In particular, the institutions have only been operational for 60 per cent of that time. Even if the Assembly and Executive is restored in the near future, the risk of a further collapse remains.

“There is a groundswell of support for reform, as evidenced in opinion polls across the community. Key areas need to be addressed, including Executive formation and sustainability, and changing the designation system and cross-community votes.

“Alliance has consistently called for the use of weighted-majorities free from designations and for a voluntary coalition approach to power-sharing.

“The Committee recommendation for an independently-led comprehensive review is absolutely crucial. In particular, reform will only happen if and when the UK and Irish provide leadership and drive the process.”