MLAs in row over Stormont stalemate.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

A BLISTERING war of words has broken out between Sinn Fein's Megan Fearon and the SDLP's Justin McNulty over the continued failure to broker a power-sharing deal at Stormont.

Sinn Fein MLA Ms Fearon questioned the SDLP MLA on which rights he would be prepared to abandon for the people of Northern Ireland in order to secure a deal, whilst Mr McNulty responded by saying that his Sinn Fein counterpart had "a short memory." Ms Fearon attributed the stalemate at Stormont to the DUP's intransigence over a number of key issues.

"The DUP's refusal to accept a future based on rights and equality, an anti-rights position facilitated by a British Government dependent on the DUP for its own survival, has prevented the restoration of an Executive of locally accountable ministers.

"Justin McNulty and the SDLP should set out whose rights they want to abandon in order to get a deal at any price?

Is it families who have been waiting for inquests for 45 years?

The LGBT community our those of us who demand recognition and acceptance of Irish cultural identity?

"Sinn Féin wants to see the Executive restored to set budgets and make decisions for local people on the basis of equality, rights and respect. That's the only way that an Executive can be credible and sustainable."

Mr McNulty said that a programme for government had been agreed between Sinn Fein/DUP just under a year ago, before accusing Sinn Fein of not wanting power-sharing to succeed, saying that they were "plotting a course to direct rule".

He added: "Ms Fearon has a very short memory. Less than a year ago she was a serving member of an Executive where she signed up to a Programme for Government with no Irish Language Act, no marriage equality and no economic equality legislation.

"By contrast, SDLP MLAs were tabling an Irish Language Bill, a Marriage Equality Bill and an Economic Equality Bill.

"The truth of the matter now is that Ms Fearon and her party are plotting a course to direct rule. And the moment that happens, she will have sacrificed the LGBT community, the Irish Language community and those who have been waiting 45 years for inquests, to a British Tory government under the whip hand of the DUP.

"Megan Fearon must answer two very simple questions - does she believe that the DUP-Tory government will deliver on any of these rights? And will she hand power from Irish soil to this chaotic British government?

That is a compromise that the SDLP would never make."


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