Alliance Party Leader, David Ford, has responded to Mark Durkan’s remarks over the weekend in which he again ruled out any sanctions against Sinn Féin, or even participation in a voluntary coalition.
David Ford said that tough rhetoric that is not matched by tough action sends out the wrong message.
David Ford said: “The more the SDLP rachet up the rhetoric against Republicans but fail to contemplate any sanctions against Sinn Féin, the more they are letting them off the hook.
“In effect, they are saying that Republicans can do what they wish, because the SDLP will not take or support any action against them.
“The Agreement does not entrench the notion of an inclusive government above any everything else. That is false. In fact, it envisages the circumstances where parties can be excluded from government for massive breaches of faith and sets out the penalty, exclusion from the Executive.
“Republicans are now in major default on their commitments, and are clearly not operating to the same standards of democracy, human rights and the rule of law as everyone else.
“Proposals which do not recognise this, and insist on treating all parties the same, by excluding all from an Executive, are not consistent with the Agreement.
“In falling to contemplate any sanctions, the SDLP are failing to operate the Agreement as intended, and sending out the message that nothing politically can happen without Sinn Féin.”