Unionism want power without responsibility Maskey tells Labour Party Conference
Sinn Féin West Belfast MP Paul Maskey this morning accused unionists of wanting the trappings of power without the responsibility that goes with it.
Paul Maskey was speaking at a cross-party panel discussion at the Labour Party Conference in Manchester this morning.
The West Belfast MP said:
“Tory cuts have not been implemented in the north due to our party stalling the passage of the Bill.
“We are calling for all local parties to stand together to fight the Tory government’s efforts to impose the vicious welfare cuts.
“Last week Martin McGuinness made it clear – the DUP minister responsible for welfare should bring the Bill to the floor of the Assembly for debate and votes. Let them explain how foisting this welfare cuts agenda on their own working-class constituents, as well as everyone else, is in any way desirable.
“If they refuse to bring the Bill forward, then the issue should go to the people, by way of an election to the Assembly. We fear no election.
“Either way Sinn Fein will not support the cuts demanded by a cabinet of millionaires in London, who have not received one vote in Ireland. We stand alongside the poor, the low paid and the disadvantaged in this battle.
“So things are not good, but let me be clear - collapsing the institutions is not on our agenda. These institutions are part and parcel of the Good Friday Agreement.
“Over the last two years, political unionism has clearly moved into an anti-Agreement mode.
“The evidence is clear – violent unionist reaction to a lawful, democratic decision of Belfast City Council to reduce the flying of the union flag; violent reaction to the lawful decision of the Parades Commission to prevent an unwanted Orange Order march to pass nationalist Ardoyne in North Belfast; Peter Robinson reneging on the agreed Programme for Government commitment to develop the Long Kesh/Maze site; refusal to agree the compromises emerging from the Haass/O’Sullivan talks late last year; walkout from party leaders’ talks in July, and threats to bring down the institutions at every conceivable opportunity from ‘On The Runs’, the Parades Commission decision, and now welfare cuts.
“This approach has increasingly defined the nature of DUP participation in the political institutions in the north. We see no genuine willingness to share power with republicans in a real partnership government.
“But this has only been allowed to continue because the British government has repeatedly shown its willingness to capitulate to a unionist agenda, and are unwilling to stand up to unionist threats and intransigence.
“This situation is untenable, and it is time that the British and Irish governments – with support from the US – stepped up to the mark, get engaged positively and get things moving again.
“It is clear that Unionists want the trappings of power without the responsibility of standing up for those they were elected to represent.”