Wishing David Ford a happy retirement

David Ford is enjoying the first day of his retirement today. He’s been such a wise, sensible voice in Northern Ireland politics for over quarter of a century.

He explains to the BBC why he’s decided that now is the right time to step down from the Assembly.

The Alliance Party website has his full statement:

It has been an enormous privilege to represent the people of South Antrim and the wider Alliance Party for the entire life of the Assembly so far. However, I feel now is the right time for me to step down. This will enable my successor to settle in and work in the constituency during the ongoing impasse, then play a full role in the Assembly after it is restored,” he said.

“On June 30, I complete 20 years as a member of the Assembly, making it a fitting day to retire, which I do as ‘father of the house’. Until that point, I will continue to work for my constituents and on anything else the party requires me to do. I will of course remain an active party member and support it in any way I can to continue its trend of growing.

“I am privileged to have been elected by my neighbours in South Antrim on six occasions, and take pride in the legacy I leave in the constituency, in Alliance and in the Department of Justice. I know Alliance remains the best vehicle for establishing a united community for everyone in Northern Ireland. I leave the party team in safe hands with the next generation, under the leadership of Naomi Long and Stephen Farry.”

David was first elected as a councillor in 1993 and was then elected to the Assembly in 1998 – exactly 20 years yesterday. He led the Alliance party for 15 years from 2001 and was Northern Ireland’s Justice Mnister from 2010-2016. The BBC has a video showing the key milestones of his career here. 

He’s stood up for LGBT equality, and was removed as an elder of his Church after 30 years for his support for same sex marriage.

He also introduced a bill that would allow abortion in Northern Ireland in the case of fatal foetal abnormality.

Thanks so much to David for all his wise, liberal leadership over the years and we wish him all the best for his retirement.



Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Well done David. You’ve been a consistent and strong Liberal voice, heard not just in NI but here on the mainland as well at times. You deserve your retirement, but I hope (and expect) that we’ll still hear from you from time to time.
    David’s replacement, John Blair, will be the first openly gay MLA. Yet another Liberal contribution to the march of LGBTQ progress.

  • Denis Loretto 2nd Jul '18 - 10:27am

    As a founder member of the Alliance Party 48 years ago, now living in London, I add my thanks and best wishes to David. His contribution to the party and to Northern Ireland has been immense, including of course 6 years as Minister of Justice, a post which the DUP and Sinn Fein had to acknowledge it would have been unthinkable for one of their members to fill.
    Although the people of Northern Ireland to their credit supported the Good Friday Agreement, encapsulating as it did the longstanding Alliance Party policies of power-sharing at Stormont and rapport with the Irish Republic, the alienation, fear and mistrust ingrained during 30 years of horrific violence and conflict still mean that elections result in majorities for parties drawn from one or other side of the traditional divide. Nevertheless the Alliance Party continue to achieve sufficient support to maintain an influential voice in the province for their admirable values and their unique quality of protestant and catholic membership working together in the same organisation.
    David Ford has earned his place in history and under Naomi Long’s energetic leadership it is imperative that the Alliance Party fights on not just to survive but to progress ultimately to the elimination of sectarian labels as the main basis of voting choice in Northern Ireland.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • User AvatarDavid Evans 14th Dec - 1:08am
    David Warren, Indeed you are right. Unfortunately our MPs have a reputation of putting looking after the Conservatives ahead of looking after our Voters and...
  • User AvatarGlenn 13th Dec - 10:53pm
    Frankie Spell my name right and learn what a nuanced response is. The term hardliner refers to someone with unbending beliefs and a refusal to...
  • User Avatarexpats 13th Dec - 10:31pm
    Paul D B 13th Dec '18 - 9:40pm..........People should not be apologists for the Labour Party. They created the free-loading loosely regulated conditions (in parallel...
  • User AvatarSean Hyland 13th Dec - 10:29pm
    Paul D B - note that i was not apologising for Labour. Just saying to correct your initial post that they caused the 2008 crash....
  • User Avatarexpats 13th Dec - 10:20pm
    David Raw 13th Dec '18 - 9:10pm @ expats. Come on old lad, that Boris is a real hard man who learned his trade in...
  • User AvatarSean Hagan 13th Dec - 10:14pm
    @Yeovil Yokel: As Commons Speaker, John Bercow does not currently sit as a Conservative MP, so was not amongst the 317 who had a vote...