UK government has yet to meet NDNA commitments, Justice Minister Naomi Long says
The UK government has yet to fulfill the commitments set out in the deal that reinstated Stormont two years ago and has “reneged on its promises” regarding the legacy, the justice minister said.
Marking the second anniversary of the New Decade New Approach deal which ended three years without decentralization, Naomi Long said the deal “served a purpose” but was “far from perfect”.
Stormont’s collapse in January 2017 after more than a decade of power sharing was sparked by the row over the renewable heat incentive.
Under the aegis of Foreign Minister Simon Coveney and then Secretary of State Julian Smith, the January 2020 NDNA was sung weeks after deadly general elections for the DUP and Sinn Féin, which saw their share of the vote plummeted by 5.4 and 6.7 percentage points, respectively.
Both Mr. Coveney and Mr. Smith described it as a “fair and balanced package”.
However, many of the commitments included in the deal remain unfulfilled, while public confidence in the institutions appears to have changed little.
Major health and social services reform, legislation making Stormont more sustainable, increased transparency measures and an agreed framework on culture and language are on hold – although recent days have seen progress on the latter.
Ms Long told The Irish News that the deal fulfills its main purpose of “restoring the executive branch so that the people of Northern Ireland have locally elected representatives who make decisions for them”.
“However, it was far from perfect when it was signed, ignoring the growing centrality of our company,” she said.
“This lack of foresight continues to cause concern, including the NDNA’s inability to deal with the types of crises we have seen previously and may again in the future.”
The Alliance leader pointed to the failure of the British government to introduce a statute of limitations for unrest prosecutions.
“Mainly, the UK government has let people down with its actions, shattering the legacy aspect of the deal,” she said.
“He reneged on his promises and decided to move forward with his amnesty plans, which go against the wishes of every local party and deprive anyone affected by the unrest of justice.”
The MP for East Belfast also expressed frustration at the lack of language legislation.
In addition, we have yet to see a delivery on the linguistic and cultural aspect of NDNA, although Alliance has suggested a viable approach as early as 2017, ”she said.
“In general, the government took too long to legislate on the provisions included in the agreement, which were there to increase stability in the face of another crisis. sharing power again and leaving people without the necessary local representation. “