ALLIANCE Assembly member Seamus Close MLA has called for an immediate statement from the Prime Minister to tell the public what he proposes to do, following the statement by the Chief Constable blaming the IRA for the Northern Bank robbery.
Mr Close stated:
“Instead of hiding behind wimpish statements from a spokesman, the Prime Minister should get on the airwaves and make a clear and unequivocal statement directly to the people telling us how he intends to take the process forward.
“People are angry that that the return of their Assembly is being held hostage by paramilitary groups and those involved in criminality. If Tony Blair is serious when he says that the Assembly can only be restored when paramilitary and criminal activity by those involved ends, he needs to get real and quit abdicating his responsibility.
“Are democrats going to continue to be held to ransom because the IRA can’t keep its fingers out of the till? Surely now it is time to consider a voluntary coalition of parties that, while they may disagree on many things, are committed to democratic means and do not engage in criminality.
“This robbery was obviously being planned during the recent political negotiations, at a time when parties were in talks with republicans. Whatever confidence there was in republicans to bring an end to criminal activity has evaporated. If other parties who trust each other and represent the majority of the electorate are prepared to move forward together, would it not be wrong for the Government to stop them?
“As an elected politician, I am now being prevented from doing my job because of a bank heist. It is time for democrats to move on. If we do not, it will prove that politically, Tony Blair is as bankrupt as a Northern Bank vault.”