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Hain's Defence Of Direct Rule Should Act As Spur To Local Politicians

18 July, 2006

Responding to this morning’s speech in Stormont by the British Secretary of State, Peter Hain where he defended Water Charges and Rate hikes and outlined proposals to cut the number of government departments, Sinn Fein spokesperson on the economy Mitchel McLaughlin said:

“This mornings speech by Peter Hain was a self-serving attempt to justify bad decisions already taken by British Direct Rule ministers. He also outlined further measures he plans to take in the time ahead should provide a spur to all of the political parties here including the DUP to quickly re-establish the political institutions and remove this power from British Direct Rule Ministers.

“A defence of water charges and massive rates increases, a defence of the current crisis in health and education is what Peter Hain offered us this morning. Even more worryingly he appeared to indicate an intention to unilaterally tamper with the Good Friday Agreement. This is a further indication of Peter Hain’s rush to satisfy the insatiable demands of the DUP. A reduction in the number of Departments has of course been a demand of the DUP for sometime. The number of government departments was agreed amongst the parties and the British government has no place taking it upon itself to tamper with the current model.

“The fact remains that local politicians need to take charge of these issues. The only party currently blocking this happening is the DUP. The DUP is clearly content that British Ministers should continue to roll out the attack on the Public Sector and delivery of frontline essential services. The DUP has failed to demonstrate any willingness to step up to the mark and get on with the job of taking on Ministerial responsibility and delivering for the people who are crying out for an end to the unaccountable quango of British Direct Rule.” ENDS

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