Page last updated at 13:56 GMT, Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Cohesion, Sharing and Integration strategy

The Cohesion, Sharing and Integration (CSI) strategy programme is reaching the final critical stage before public consultation, Junior Minister Robin Newton told the assembly on 2 March 2010.

The SDLP motion called for the publication of the CSI strategy by OFMDFM by March 2010.

Mr Newton said there was no room for complacency and there was much still to do, as the recent murder of Kieran Doherty demonstrated.

Moving the Alliance amendment, party leader David Ford said that a shared future had been been made more possible by executive progress in recent weeks.

He added that it was vitally important to have a "home-grown strategy" built under devolution.

The UUP's Danny Kennedy said that his party broadly welcomed the motion, despite tabling an amendment.

He added that the handling of CSI by Sinn Féin and the DUP had gone from a "tragic missed opportunity" to "farcical", and said that his party did not take the view that "separate but equal" was beneficial.

For the DUP, Jonathan Bell said that progress to a shared future had failed in previous assemblies but should not fail under the current watch.

While Barry McElduff for Sinn Féin welcomed the news that a strategy had been agreed by the First Minister and Deputy First Minister.

In winding on the motion Alex Attwood accused the two main parties of resolving key integration issues such as parading "over the heads of the public", and criticised David Ford for supporting a strategy that he had not yet seen.

The motion, with the Alliance amendment, was carried by 42 votes to 23.

The SDLP are taking a motion on the Cohesion, Sharing and Integration (CSI) strategy to the assembly.

They are calling on the First Minister and Deputy First Minister to publish the CSI strategy.

The motion also requests that a dedicated standing committee is established to encourage, monitor and scrutinise implementation of the CSI strategy across all government departments.

Junior Minister Robin Newton said OFMDFM was reaching the final critical stages before the CSI programme went out for public consultation and the final draft would be sent to all government departments.

He said all parties were united by the desire to produce a blueprint and framework for a better and brighter future for Northern Ireland. It was important not to forget the past, but not revisit it, he said.

Mr Newton said NI had already "come far on this journey", but there was no room for complacency and there was much still to do.

The dissident republican murder of Kieran Doherty, the car bomb in Newry and violence in Craigavon were stark reminders of "what we want to remove from our society", he said.


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