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Sinn Féin encouraged by UUP recognition of the Cost of Direct Rule

15 December, 2005

Sinn Féin Assembly group leader, Upper Bann MLA John O'Dowd MLA has welcomed comments from UUP East Derry MLA David McClarty complaining about the cost of Direct Rule.

Mr O'Dowd said:

"Sinn Féin launched our campaign to expose the costs of Direct Rule last month at Stormont with the publication of our discussion document 'Counting the Cost of Direct Rule . . . And Putting it Right'.

"I am encouraged by the comments of David McClarty in recognising the ongoing and increasing costs of British Direct Rule.

"Direct Rule is a failure. It fails all the people of the north at every conceivable level socially, politically and economically. People are paid less and costs are higher. Local political do not take the decisions which can affect any of this. British Ministers are in charge.

"Sinn Féin have also argued that we need to have greater economic sovereignty and greater fiscal flexibility. Yet the current agenda of privatisation and over dependence on PPP and PFI mean that we will lose this flexibility as British ministers tie us into an economic straight jacket.

"The primary responsibility to change this rests with the political parties. Our aim is to restore the political institutions and to put decisions making back into the hands of the people of the north through the political institutions and locally elected political representatives.

"Direct rule has made it impossible to manage the economy in the interests of all and has impeded the delivery of essential services to all on an equal basis. It has stalled the process of reform in healthcare and education and inflicted damage on the agricultural sector.

"The central problem, which is structurally inherent to Direct Rule, is unaccountability. Direct Rule is being driven by Whitehall mandarins and not the interest of local people." ENDS

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