Alliance Leader Sean Neeson and the party’s Justice Spokesperson Steve McBride will meet tomorrow, Monday 19 October, with General John de Chastelain, Chairman of the Decommissioning Body. Speaking in advance of the meeting Sean Neeson insisted that the decommissioning issue not be allowed to delay the process any longer.
Sean Neeson said:
“Decommissioning has been allowed to fester like an open wound in the side of the Agreement. Republicans and Loyalists should look upon decommissioning as an opportunity to build confidence in the process across the community. But Unionists must not look upon it as a precondition to fulfilling the obligations that rest on David Trimble as First Minister. He must move immediately to establish the Executive.
“If the Executive is not formed then the North-South Ministerial Council cannot be established before the October 31 deadline. If that deadline is missed then David Trimble and the Ulster Unionists will have breached the Agreement. We cannot afford to ignore deadlines as though they do not matter. David Trimble should seize upon the goodwill being shown towards him in the wake of the Nobel Prize and get the implementation of the Agreement back on track.”
The Alliance Party representatives will meet with the Decommissioning Body at 2.00pm on Monday at Rosepark House.
Alliance Youth Affairs Spokesperson, Michael Long, has indicated his support for the debate on reforming the House of Lords during which the Governmemt has decided to abolish hereditary peerages.
Mr Long welcomed this decision saying:
“It is high time that this institution was overhauled so that the second chamber at Westminister is more representative of the general public. This decision to abolish hereditary peerages is a step in the right direction as this group is totally unrepresentative of the public at large. Apparently 45% of them were educated at Eton whilst both women and young people are hugely under represented.
“The Alliance Party believe that abolition of hereditary peerages should be followed to further reform so that the second chamber is more inclusive, so better fulfilling its function as a check on the government.
“It is time that those from all social classes and both genders were represented more fully, and as youth affairs spokesperson I feel that it is vital that all age groups are more equally represented through the appointment of more younger members. This will mean that the views of young people can be better heard and so more effectively represented.”
The Consumer Affairs Spokesperson for the Alliance Party Jan Campbell, has welcomed the recent announcement from the supermarket chain ASDA that their suppliers of own branded goods have been asked to reduce the salt levels in certain foods.
Jan Campbell said:
“This is great news for the consumer as 80% of our salt intake is already in the food we eat, especially in processed foods. This makes it difficult to reduce what can be a potentially lethal substance for those with blood pressure and heart condition.
“The lower salt products will be a healthier alternative offering the choice for the consumer to add salt if required as previously the salt was being added by the manufacturer. Hopefully the supermarket chains in Northern Ireland will follow suit and people in Northern Ireland will be offered a similar choice.”
Alliance Party Leader, Sean Neeson has expressed his deep sorrow at the death of Constable O’Reilly, and has extended his sympathy to the family.
Mr Nesson said:
“Constable O’Reilly is a victim of the poison of naked sectarianism which flaunts itself daily on the streets of Portadown.
“I plead to all those involved in the conflict there to get round the table and to sort out their difficulties.
“Otherwise I fear that further sorrow will be inflicted on other innocent families.”