Issue 4-2022 small

10 September 2009 Edition

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No slow return to majority rule

MARTIN McGuinness emphasised this week that Sinn Féin will not allow the equality mechanisms enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement to be diluted or undermined in any way. This follows proposals by the DUP’s Peter Robinson to fundamentally alter the way in which the North’s Assembly operates.
The proposals are retrograde and will only promote exclusion and delay in political decision making. In the midst of huge economic crisis such antics will not help one jot in addressing the real hardship being experienced by ordinary people.
At a time when the community is seeking political leadership it is disappointing that the ‘big idea’ propagated by the DUP leader is to reopen a negotiation which was concluded 11 years ago.
The DUP is attempting to change the rules which all parties agreed when they re-entered the political institutions and endorsed by referendum across Ireland and further endorsed by the DUP following the St Andrews Agreement.
Robinson’s proposals in themselves are contradictory. On the one hand he is calling for a 65% vote in the Assembly, yet on the other demanding unanimity within the Executive.
The latest DUP manoeuvre harks back to a time when unionism could become a block, marginalise republicans and dictate the type of nationalist they were willing to deal with. All of that ended 11 years ago and as Martin McGuinness said this week, “There is no going back.”
It is no coincidence that the DUP is deploying such tactics following the emergence of Sinn Féin as the largest party in the North at the most recent elections.
Sinn Féin has repeatedly made it clear that the equality and inclusion in decision making in the North’s administration, which are secured in law, will remain. The current arrangements are not there by accident. They were and are necessary to ensure equality for all citizens.
Sinn Féin will in no way allow those mechanisms to be diluted or undermined in any way.
DUP attempts to create a slow, staged, incremental return to majority rule will not be allowed to happen.

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