The Lagan Valley MLA stated: “The First Minister has offered Executive meetings with an open agenda. Surely Sinn Fein can take the opportunity to allow discussion on the vital issues of education and fuel poverty, without loss of face.
“Sinn Fein have been offered the chance to set their own agenda. What are they afraid of? There can be no more excuses for the Executive not sitting.
“In this deadlock it is difficult to see whether the parties are in disagreement or have simply run out of ideas. Either way, the manner in which they are both acting is totally unacceptable. Where is the leadership? Where is the delivery that the people of Northern Ireland were promised before devolution returned?
“Sinn Fein have made their point and continuing this standoff is hurting the people of Northern Ireland.
“Without taking sides in the matter, currently it is Sinn Fein who are refusing to meet, and ironically it is their Education Minister who is frustrated by her inability to bring forward her much heralded proposals.
“The public are losing confidence in the ability of the Assembly as a whole to deliver because of the Executive’s failures. It’s time for them to stop playing politics and attend to the real needs of the people.”