The proposals set out in the Consultation Document on the Programme for Cohesion, Sharing and Integration do not appear to be principle driven and the major problem that has divided Northern Ireland society over the past 40 years, which is terrorism, is not mentioned.
The document makes reference only to goals for a shared and better future for all, but does not explain for most of them how these would be implemented.
One of the rare goals for which a precise implementation process has been provided is a “new improved framework” for regulating public assemblies with OFMDFM Draft Bill and Draft Code of Conduct. However, the analysis of the proposed legislation has revealed that it would have made the process extremely complex and unacceptable for those who wish to exercise their right to freedom of peaceful assembly in Northern Ireland.
The contradiction between this declared goal and its outcome casts very serious doubts over the other goals mentioned in the Consultation Document for which approval cannot be given until the means of their implementation are also specified.
Furthermore, some key aims mentioned in relation to certain aspects of Northern Ireland society raise very serious concerns as they may well encourage the radicalisation of some sections of the community rather than uniting the community around common values with respect for democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms.
(Please read the complete response in the Section for Submissions)