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Stormont opposition plans could undermine Good Friday Agreement, says Sinn Fein

Published 02/02/2016

A petition of concern has been submitted which will defeat key elements of the legislation
A petition of concern has been submitted which will defeat key elements of the legislation

Plans for an opposition at Stormont could undermine the Good Friday Agreement, republicans have claimed.

Sinn Fein MLA Catriona Ruane claimed John McCallister's Assembly and Executive Reform (Assembly Opposition) Bill would lead to majoritarianism.

Unionists said nobody wanted to go back to majority rule.

Ms Ruane said: "It would lead to majoritarianism and potentially undermine the Good Friday.

"There are many things we can support in his Bill but we don't believe we need legislation to do it.

"The Fresh Start provisions for an official opposition we believe is the best and most appropriate approach."

A petition of concern has been submitted which will defeat key elements of the legislation.

Ulster Unionist Danny Kennedy said: "People don't want to go back to majority-style rule.

"I hear no one advocating such a position and therefore I think the concerns about community designation are something of a misnomer."

The mechanisms contained in the Bill would lead to the largest nationalist and biggest unionist party forming a coalition.

All other parties would then be likely to form an opposition bloc, as opposed to the situation at present, where all five main parties are part of the Executive.

Moving from the cross-party coalition established during the peace process has been a key demand of unionists but has been delayed by political wrangling.

Paula Bradley, of the DUP, said the party believed in the general principles of the Bill.

She expressed opposition to provisions around technical groups.

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