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Dodds suggestion on NI Select Committee dismissed

26 May, 2005

Sinn Féin Vice President Pat Doherty has dismissed a suggestion by the DUP MP Nigel Dodds that holding meetings of the NI Select Committee in Belfast was in some way a substitute for local politicians exercising real executive power.

Mr Doherty said:

"Direct Rule as a system of government in the six counties is a failure. We have seen in recent times one inept British Direct Rule Minister after another make basic mistakes and take deeply flawed decisions. You only have to look at the cuts in Education and Health and the campaign by British Ministers to introduce Water Charges as evidence of that.

"The notion floated today by Nigel Dodds that holding meetings of an obscure Westminster committee in Belfast would somehow bridge the obvious democratic deficit and actually impact on people lives by reversing some of the crazy decisions of the Direct Rule regime beggars belief. It is the fact that for so long power has been centred in Westminster which is the major problem.

"That is what the Good Friday Agreement was about changing. The Agreement is about moving political power away from London and British Ministers and centring it on this island with local ministers locked into all-Ireland political institutions.

"The focus of the Sinn Féin leadership in the time ahead is to see these institutions back up and running. We are not afraid of taking difficult decisions in any future executive. Our ministerial record in the last executive is evidence of that. Nigel Dodds suggestion today seems to indicate that the DUP are less confident in their ability to deliver for the people and would prefer to hide behind British Ministers and toothless Westminster committees. These can never be a substitute for local politicians taking local decisions for the benefit of all." ENDS

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