Concern expressed at apparent SDLP Assembly u-turn
Sinn Féin MP Conor Murphy has re-iterated Sinn Féin's opposition to a shadow assembly and has expressed concern at SDLP confusion in its approach.
Mr Murphy said,
"Sinn Féin is absolutely clear on our approach to the Peter Hain Assembly. We will be there solely for the business of establishing a power-sharing government. Anything else is a waste of time and an attempt by powerless politicians to justify their salaries and allowances.
"The Peter Hain Assembly is not the assembly set out in the Good Friday Agreement. The British government, at Sinn Féin's insistence, made clear that the primary focus of this Assembly was the formation of a power-sharing government. Peter Hain is now signalling an intention to facilitate the talking shop Assembly which the DUP wants. Sinn Féin will not be party to the pretence that this Assembly can do real business.
"If Assembly members want to change British policy on water charges, increased rates, rural planning, education and health cutes, the only way to do this is to set up our own power-sharing Executive. The DUP, however, have given no commitment or signal that they will enter a power-sharing Executive.
"I am therefore, concerned at the confusion and mixed messages coming from the SDLP. Having repeatedly said that they would not be involved in a talking shop they are now saying they will take part in pointless debates in a powerless Assembly. This can only encourage the DUP in their belief that they can achieve an Assembly which departs from the principles of the Good Friday Agreement. The SDLP need to clear up the confusion and tell us if they are now willing to be part of a sham Assembly." ENDS