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Debate on Davison and McGuigan murders to dominate new Stormont Assembly term

By Noel McAdam

Published 04/09/2015

Murdered: Kevin McGuigan
Murdered: Kevin McGuigan

Sinn Fein has put the murders of former IRA men Gerard 'Jock' Davison and Kevin McGuigan centre-stage for the return of the Assembly.

The first day of the new term is to be dominated by a debate on the killings which have led to the current political crisis threatening the future of the Assembly.

A Sinn Fein motion has asked parties to unite to condemn the murders and call for those responsible to face justice. It aims to rebuild shattered confidence with the unionist parties but appears destined to fall on deaf ears.

Former DUP Minister Edwin Poots said: "To solely trust the word of SF is poor judgment. The DUP will deal with facts and with evidence.

"We will not rely on hollow words from those who deny their IRA past. We want to see paramilitary groups consigned to history, not simply being a bit more open and transparent about their activities."

While MLAs appear set to return as expected on Monday, the DUP - which has asked David Cameron to suspend the Assembly - have pledged it will not be 'business as usual'.

They have not spelt out their plans but are likely to stay away from the first meeting of the Executive which is due next Thursday.

That, however, would throw the planned shedding of hundreds of civil service jobs over the next few months into further disarray.

Head of the civil service, Dr Malcolm McKibben, had written to around 1,200 civil servants expecting to leave at the end of this month to say the decision should come on September 10.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness yesterday spoke to the Prime Minister by telephone and warned against any suspension. Assembly sources also yesterday indicated Mr McGuinness is likely to preside over the first question time session of the new term on Monday.

The business committee has agreed agendas for the first two weeks of the term following the nine-week summer recess.

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