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McDevitt support for unionist veto disgraceful

7 January, 2011 - by Alex Maskey


Sinn Féin Assembly member Alex Maskey has said that SDLP representative Conal McDevitt needs ‘to get real if he thinks that nationalists in the north are about to stand by and watch him try and barter away hard fought gains in successive negotiations for his own narrow political ambitions’. He accused the SDLP representative of disgracefully aligning himself with unionist attempts to undermine the checks and balances at the Assembly.

Mr Maskey’s comments came after Mr McDevitt called for changes in the Stormont rules to allow the Assembly to remove a Minister from the Executive, thereby handing unionists a veto over nationalist Ministers.

Mr Maskey said:

“Conal McDevitt may not understand nor care about the past unionist abuse of power in the 6 Counties.  In pursuit of his own political ambitions he seeks to build a UUP/SDLP alliance.  His agenda is causing unease amongst many within the SDLP base, he is actively attempting to undermine the checks and balances contained within the Good Friday Agreement political institutions. 

“His recent call for a new provision within the Assembly to allow the removal of an Executive Minister on the basis of a simple majority vote is ill thought-out.  It is also a longstanding unionist demand. For an SDLP representative to propose what would in effect be a unionist veto over the operation of the political institutions is staggering.  Were it to be adopted his proposal would spell the end of power-sharing government.

“The only way that the political institutions can operate effectively and in the interests of all is on the basis of equality. Sinn Féin will not allow any attempts to undermine the power-sharing safeguards and guarantees built into the arrangements upon which the Institutions are required to operate.  That is the only way to ensure that the unionist abuses of the past never happen again and that the institutions serve all sections of society.

“Conal McDevitt needs to get real if he thinks that nationalists in the north are about to stand by and watch him try and barter away hard fought gains in successive negotiations for his own narrow political ambitions.” ENDS

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