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SDLP putting self-interest ahead of securing transfer of powers

23 August, 2008 - by Alex Maskey

Sinn Féin Assembly member Alex Maskey today said that the SDLP MLA Margaret Ritchie was either suffering from 'extreme paranoia or delusions of grandeur' after she attempted to suggest that there was a grand conspiracy underway to stop her party becoming justice minister.

Mr Maskey said:

"The recent enthusiasm being displayed by the SDLP to assume a future justice ministry is interesting given the fact that the SDLP never previously argued for such powers to be transferred. Indeed in 2001 the then Deputy Leader Seamus Mallon told us that no further policing legislation was possible. Sinn Féin's negotiating strategy proved him wrong and further important changes were secured in legislation.

"Many nationalists will be disappointed that at a time when maximum pressure needs to be maintained on the British government to deliver their St. Andrews Agreement commitments in this area that senior members of the SDLP choose once again to put narrow self-interest ahead of ensuring that these powers are transferred speedily.

"Margaret Ritchie's latest contribution is to allege a grand conspiracy amongst the other parties and the governments against her party. The reality is of course very different. Margaret Ritchie is suffering either from a case of extreme paranoia or delusions of grandeur.

"I can assure her that the position of the SDLP has played no part in any of our discussions on this issue and it is beyond me why Margaret Ritchie would think that her party's position would be an issue for Sinn Féin at a time when the sole focus needs to be on ensuring delivery from the British government." ENDS

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