Are Sinn Fein and SDLP willing to govern NI? Asks Alliance

Alliance Employment and Learning Minister, Stephen Farry MLA, has challenged the SDLP and Sinn Fein to demonstrate they are prepared to accept the realities and responsibilities of government and to be prepared to take tough decisions when necessary.

Stephen Farry said: “A critical aspect of government is making decisions in the context that you find yourselves in. And power-sharing devolution can only succeed if parties are prepared to rise above narrow party or ideological agendas, to compromise when necessary and to act for the common good.
“None of these attributes are currently being demonstrated by the SDLP and Sinn Fein as they are set to take Northern Ireland into political and unprecedented financial uncertainty over the failure to pass welfare legislation.

“Welfare policy is primarily determined at a UK level. Especially with our huge financial subvention from Westminster, the scope for local variation is limited. This is the reality. Both the SDLP and Sinn Fein have accepted the Principle of Consent as part of the Good Friday Agreement.

“There is little point in arguing that the current Conservative Government achieved very few votes and no representation in Northern Ireland as they are the legitimate government of the United Kingdom as a whole. Therefore, there is no point in trying to pretend they don’t have a mandate to govern the whole UK, including Northern Ireland.

“The choices facing the Executive and the Assembly are very simple and very stark, either to pass the local variations on welfare reform with modifications and flexibilities or to see the full unabridged GB version deployed over our heads, and to bring some sense and balance to the funding of public services or see services on which the most vulnerable in society depend gutted as public finances collapse in a political vacuum.

“Both the SDLP and Sinn Fein are still to prove that they are capable of governing in a rational manner. Otherwise the stakes are very high, including the potential collapse of the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement. For two so-called ‘pro-Agreement’ parties, this must be a very sobering prospect.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *