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SDLP sitting in 'Wendy House' debates giving comfort to DUP rejectionists

17 May, 2006

Sinn Féin West Tyrone MLA Barry McElduff has said that the participation of the SDLP in the 'Wendy house' debate at the Hain Assembly yesterday was a serious mistake that will only provide the DUP with a comfort blanket.

Mr McElduff said:

"The primary function of the Assembly is to elect a First and Deputy First Minister and Executive. Meaningless debates that are ignored will only delay the day when we get an Executive. Yesterday the SDLP provided a comfort blanket for the DUP. It was nothing more than a bit of occupational therapy for MLA's when what we should be doing is taking Executive decisions about how to tackle the lack of occupational therapists in the real world.

"The SDLP said that they would not take part in 'Wendy House' debates yet at the first opportunity this is exactly what they have done. If this debate was as important as the SDLP claim why was SDLP leader Mark Durkan absent.

"Mickey Mouse debates in the Hain Assembly will not change how British direct rule ministers make decisions. It was a serious mistake by the SDLP to participate in this sham debate when even business leaders made it clear in the morning that we need sustainable accountable local government.

"The economy remains one of the most important issues that a full Assembly and Executive must address as a matter of urgency within an agreed programme for government. The only way to address the short-termism and failures of British direct rule is to get local ministers who are accountable taking these decisions." ENDS

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