Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Sinn Féin will not take part in talking shop debates in Hain Assembly

22 May, 2006


Sinn Féin Agriculture and Rural Development Spokesperson, Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew has confirmed that Sinn Féin will not participate in talking shop debates in the Hain Assembly on any issue.

Speaking after Peter Hain published the Assembly Order Paper for tomorrow (Tuesday, 23rd May),

Ms Gildernew said:

"Sinn Féin will not be part of a talking shop in which MLA's have no power. Talking shop debates that will be ignored by decision makers. An executive can make real decisions. This Hain Assembly cannot.

"Today there was an opportunity to elect a First and Deputy First Minister and get on with the real work that Assembly members were elected to carry out - and get on with taking decisions on issues like rural planning and the economy. But it was lost because of DUP grandstanding.

"Sinn Féin are not going to provide political cover for the DUP refusal to take on their responsibilities by facilitating sham debates in the Hain Assembly. Our sole focus is on ensuring restoring the power-sharing Executive and all-Ireland institutions and for local politicians to take up their responsibilities.

"It is also clear that until we form a power-sharing government that British ministers will do whatever they like. Over the last three and a half years direct rule ministers have shown that they are not listening to local people or their elected representatives either individually or collectively.

"Sinn Féin met Peter Hain on Monday. We raised our concerns about how British direct rule ministers are handling the issue of Rural Planning and gave him a substantive paper on our position.

"On this, as on many other issues, there is no point in sham Assembly debates in the Hain talking shop. The only way to deal with Rural Planning and bring about a policy that meets the needs of our rural communities is with a Power Sharing Executive and locally accountable ministers." ENDS

Note to Editors

Sinn Féin has published 50,000 leaflets; held six public meeting across the North; met DRD officials twice; met the Rural Development Council, the Rural Community Network, the Ulster Council of the GAA, Friends of the Earth, and will meet the UFU on Friday; we will be meeting the DRD Minister next week and again in early June with the party's MPs to to secure progress on the issue of rural planing.

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