Monday, March 13, 2006


Set devolution deadline - McLaughlin

Well said, MitchelTony Blair and Bertie Ahern must set a deadline for the restoration of devolved government in the North, according to Sinn Féin's Mitchel McLaughlin.

The Derry Journal reports that the Foyle MLA has confirmed his party has written to both leaders outlining its strategy for ending the current political impasse.

The strategy requires the two governments to meet the North's parties and set out a timetable by which the suspension of devolution would be lifted and a multiparty executive formed:

"This should be completed before the summer and well in advance of the loyalist marching season."

"If the DUP rejects this, then the two governments should, on the basis of joint government decision-making, get on with delivering those many parts of the Good Friday Agreement that they have direct responsibility for."

Mr McLaughlin said that it isn't feasible to continue shadow boxing with the DUP in talks or mark time and to maintain an Assembly that isn't functioning.

"The DUP have been the lead party in unionism for more than two years."

"They have had plenty of time to make up their mind about whether or not they are going to embrace the new dispensation.

"The longer the political vacuum continues the more difficult it will be to get the political institutions back up and running.

"The governments need to face up to this reality. They need to commit themselves to making progress well in advance of the marching season."

If the DUP is unwilling to form a power-sharing government by the deadline, Mr McLaughlin said the governments should fully implement provisions in the Good Friday Agreement on human rights, equality, the Irish language, victims, symbols and emblems, as well as the expansion of cross-border elements including areas of co-operation and the number of implementation bodies.

I agree totally with Mitchel McLaughlin. The two governments have pussyfooted around Paisley and co. for long enough. It's time to deliver, with or without them on board.

It is clear from recent polls that a significant portion of DUP members just don't want power-sharing under any circumstances and if the DUP are going to let these people hold them back, fair enough. However, we cannot be held back by the DUP.

The two governments cannot allow the DUP to halt progress any longer. Set a deadline, allow the DUP to make their choice and if that choice is to continue to stifle and stall further then simply leave them behind and engage in joint government decision-making.

We can't wait around forever.


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