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SDLP refusal to come clean on water tax deal hinders development of united opposition

2 December, 2004

Sinn Féin Mid Ulster MLA Francie Molloy, who heads up the party's anti-water tax campaign has urged SDLP leader Mark Durkan to break the cycle of self-denial over the responsibility of those who negotiated the Reform and Reinvestment Initiative and the opened the door to the imposition of water taxes and challenged him to come clean on the water tax deal in order that a united cross party opposition to the tax can be developed.

Mr Molloy said:

"Over the past year there has been much debate over who was responsible for the introduction of water taxes. Mark Durkan and David Trimble in refusing to come clean on the negotiations that led to the Reform and Reinvestment Initiative are hindering the development of a cross party opposition to the imposition of these unfair and unjust taxes.

"I welcome the SDLP's new found opposition to the water taxes but if we are to build a successful opposition I would urge Margaret Ritchie to come clean on the details of the secret deal negotiated by her leader when he was the Minster responsible for opening the door to this form of unfair and unjust taxation.

"If Mark Durkan could find the courage to come clean on the water tax deal brokered in secret negotiations in London with the British Treasury it would enable us to develop a coherent strategy to stop the British governments plans dead in its tracks.

"I have repeatedly said that if every party within the Assembly and every party who would form any future Executive gave a joint undertaking to roll back this form of taxation that it would create huge difficulties for the direct rule ministers in pushing ahead with these plans." ENDS

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