Belfast Telegraph

Monday 1 September 2014

Six questions to put to the Sinn Fein and SDLP

Political Editor David Gordon continues his series on suggested questions to ask party canvassers looking for your vote.

Sinn Fein

1 Given your central role in the Stormont Executive over the last three years, are you pleased with its record of achievements to date?

2 Why has Sinn Fein been denouncing moves towards unionist electoral pacts as “sectarian” while at the same time calling for nationalist pacts? Are pacts only sectarian if they involve Protestants?

3 Do you believe your President Gerry Adams when he says that he was never in the IRA and, if so, do you think he should have been?

4 How will Sinn Fein MPs be able to defend public services and jobs when they boycott the House of Commons?

5 How does Sinn Fein propose bringing about a united Ireland given that Protestants here remain as opposed to the idea as ever and are unlikely to be persuaded by a republican movement that waged a 30-year campaign of violence?

6 Does Sinn Fein still stand by its past expenses claims for renting London properties for MPs who did not take their seats?



SDLP

1 The SDLP is constantly criticising the Executive's performance and the way it is treated by supposed power-sharing partners. Would it not be more principled to withdraw from the Executive and go into opposition at Stormont?

2 New SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie has been vowing to build the foundations of a united Ireland, but what earthly chance does she really have of achieving that?

3 How will a handful of SDLP MPs make any difference in the next Parliament when it comes to protecting jobs and services?

4 Margaret Ritchie pledged during her SDLP leadership campaign to publish details of SDLP donors. Why has this not happened so far?

5 Can the SDLP explain its position on double jobbing by its politicians? As I understand it, Mark Durkan stood down as the party’s leader in order to concentrate on Westminster but Margaret Ritchie is planning to be an MP and MLA.

6 Is the SDLP for or against Caitriona Ruane's policy on abolishing the 11-plus?

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