Visit by the Justice Minister
Mr Ford began by describing his role as Justice Minister and explained how he was the only candidate for the job as the other parties couldn’t agree to whom the role should go to. He also stated the way the Alliance Party had two seats at the executive, when larger parties only had one, was down to the poor way executive seats are given. Mr Ford said that prior to Alliance gaining two seats they had put forward a resolution, which if accepted would resolve the problem. The resolution was put down by other parties.
Mr Ford also made reference to the ongoing flags protests and said that in his role as Justice Minister he fully supported the police and believed all illegal protests should stop. He said he believed the distribution of leaflets by the unionist parties played a key role in inciting violence from the loyalist community.
Then came the questions from the floor, the first asking how the Alliance Party attracted young voters. Mr Ford said he believed the fact that Alliance was neither unionist nor nationalist would attract young people who no longer wanted ‘the sectarian head count’ that other parties give.
He was also asked if he believed that bringing up further legislation on flags was provocative. He replied by saying he didn’t believe that an inclusive society couldn’t be built when there are still areas where certain members of society are not welcome.
Finally, Mr Ford was asked if he believed MLAs performed their role to the best of their abilities. He said that the Assembly has many former councillors who don’t have experience as full time public representatives and that many had a stark unwillingness to contribute to debates.
Chairman of the Politics Society