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SDLP in disarray over policing

31 July, 2009 - by John O'Dowd

Sinn Féin Assembly Group Leader John O’Dowd has accused the SDLP of being in complete disarray and confusion about their approach to the Assembly and Executive. Mr O’Dowd’s comments come after the SDLP have now decided to oppose the transfer of powers on policing and justice away from London and into the hands of locally elected politicians.

Mr O’Dowd said:

“While it may not surprise some that the SDLP now oppose powers on policing and justice being transferred away from Westminster, given their party leader’s and other MPs fondness for the British Parliament, it is however telling that a party demanding to become a future Justice Minister is opposing the mechanism to see these powers being transferred in the first instance.

“This is a classic SDLP approach. It has typified their approach not just to policing and justice but to these institutions. It is borne from an arrogant disregard for the decisions taken by the electorate in making Sinn Féin the largest nationalist party. In ways they are a party in denial.

“Not once during any talks process did the SDLP demand the transfer of powers. Indeed after the Mandelson policing legislation they decreed that no further policing legislation would happen. Not once during their period in the Deputy First Ministers Office did they ever seek to out in place a mechanism to allow the transfer of powers on policing and justice. Such was their blind approach that the issue wasn’t even on their radar.

“So from a position of not even realising this was an issue, to one of lukewarm support they have now hitched up with Jim Allister to try and keep these powers at Westminster.

“But this is too important an issue to allow SDLP and TUV negativity and politicking to get in the way. Sinn Féin are determined to keep driving this process forward and we are determined to see this process concluded swiftly.” ENDS

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