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DUP no show at Stormont Assembly meeting as IRA row continues

Published 14/09/2015

Peter Robinson says it will not be business as usual at the Assembly until the row over the IRA is resolved
Peter Robinson says it will not be business as usual at the Assembly until the row over the IRA is resolved

Northern Ireland's largest party the Democratic Unionists has failed to show up at the start of an Assembly meeting at Stormont.

Peter Robinson stepped aside and pulled most of his ministers from office as he promised it will not be business as usual at the powersharing institution until a row over the IRA is resolved.

In the chamber the remaining unionists highlighted failures like increased hospital waiting lists and money for social development left unspent while Sinn Fein said a "sham fight" among unionists was threatening the administration.

Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) leader Mike Nesbitt said: "What we are delivering is broken and it needs to be fixed. We have to return to values and the key value is credibility."

Senior Sinn Fein Assembly Member Alex Maskey said the DUP and UUP should concentrate on solving pressing issues rather than engaging in inter-party bickering.

"I am calling on both unionist parties to end their sham fight and have the political will to go into these talks.

"Keep this sham fight for Scarva (a loyal order piece of pageantry marking the victory of Protestant King William over Catholic King James).

"Both parties need to ask themselves whose agenda would be best served, it is not the agenda of those trying to demonstrate to the wider public that this works."

Dolores Kelly from the nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) said the institutions had come about because of the desire of people across Ireland.

"People voted for a shared future. It is not about each of us inside this chamber, it is about the hope of all the people who voted for us to be here."

Hardline unionist Jim Allister, leader of the Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV), said people had peddled lies that the IRA had gone away before powersharing was restored in 2007.

"It is time we sweep away the debris of failure that this Assembly represents."

He claimed the Democratic Unionists were running away from new elections.

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