Alliance Party Seamus Close has strongly criticised the SDLP, after it published its proposals for reinstating devolution in the upcoming review of the Agreement. Mr Close stated:
“While there is some merit in a few of the SDLP’s proposals, it is a weak paper that fails to address the core issue – the absence of devolution. It is a recipe for continued deadlock. It does not seem to have dawned on the SDLP that there are serious problems with the workings of the Agreement, and with the new post-election context, it is impossible for the current set of structures to operate.
“The SDLP are criticising others for failing to protect the Agreement. More than any other party, the SDLP failed to show the courage necessary to take the tough decisions necessary to defend the Agreement.
“The SDLP are arguing for all of the so-called ‘pro-Agreement’ parties to join together in a united front against the DUP. There is nothing to be gained in parties seeking to unite around a minimalist position of denial. It is hard to join hands with those that are sitting on theirs.
“Today, the choice facing Northern Ireland is not between defending the precise structures of the Agreement and renegotiation. The choice is whether progressive changes are made to the Agreement, or whether it withers away. Today, the reformist position is the only practical pro-Agreement stance.
“The sooner the SDLP learn this rather than sticking their heads in the sand the better it will be for everyone, including themselves.”