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British Direct Rule Ministers accused of bad government

23 August, 2004

Sinn Féin West Tyrone MLA Barry McElduff has said that British direct rule ministers are guilty of delivering bad government. Mr McElduff said:

"Politics and democracy is fundamentally about good governance and about people. What we are getting now is the exact opposite of that. British direct rule Ministers and the permanent government at the NIO in Stormont Castle behaving in an arrogant and dismissive manner.

"British direct rule ministers are totally mishandling the civil service strike. The high-handed approach to negotiations with NIPSA is prolonging an industrial dispute that has hit many people hard including farmers and senior citizens.

"British direct rule ministers are steam-rolling ahead with water charges. They are guilty of ignoring the wide-ranging opposition to water taxes and they are ignoring the voice of water service employees. They are guilty of trying to sneak in their privatisation agenda.

"NIO ministers are guilty of incompetence. Their plan to effect a reduction in high electricity costs that resulted from the privatisation deal brokered by previous direct rule ministers failed dismally. The abolition of industrial de-rating is hitting small and medium sized businesses hard and spiralling insurance costs are crippling small businesses.

"British direct rule ministers are also guilty of wilfully ignoring the North/South dimension of governance that is inherent in the Good Friday Agreement. They have failed to develop a programme of work in co-ordination with their southern partners. In doing this they are failing to deliver efficiency and cost effectiveness savings that could come from harmonisation.

"We are not getting the investment in our infrastructure that is vital to economic development. West of the Bann the railway fiasco is monument to their lack of vision. Instead of a vision for transport infrastructure that reconnects West of the Bann with the East and the rest of Ireland, they prioritise a sports stadium, which is clearly nothing more than an NIO pet project.

"These are just some of the reasons why people need the institutions back up and running. This is why people need power taken out of the hands of British NIO Ministers. And, this is why we need decisions taken by people who are democratically accountable to people who live and work in the Six Counties." ENDS

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