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Ruth Patterson disgruntled with DUP's Sinn Fein reunion

By Rebecca Black

Published 30/10/2015

Ruth Patterson
Ruth Patterson

A DUP councillor has said she was shocked that her party went back to business as normal following a report which found the IRA army council still exists.

Ruth Patterson said she has major difficulties with the move.

"It has shocked me to the core that my political party has gone back into government with Sinn Fein," she said.

Ms Patterson revealed that she used to work for Peter Robinson at the time of the Good Friday Agreement and took part in protests outside Ulster Unionist offices against them going into government with Sinn Fein prior to decommissioning.

She says she now questions what all that was about.

"I begin to wonder why did we actually do that when we ourselves went into government," she told the BBC.

"My people, my loyalist, Protestant, unionist people are crying out like babes in the wilderness for leadership and honesty."

Ms Patterson did not go as far as to call for her colleagues in the Executive to resign, but said it was a matter of "conscience".

She said she plans to consider her position as a member of the DUP.

"I will be thinking long and hard about my future, about whether to stay or whether to leave," she added.

But Finance Minister Arlene Foster said the decision to return to government had been the right one after the paramilitary report was made public last week.

She added: "There is criticism when we are out (of the Executive) and there is criticism when we are in, but that is just the world we live in in relation to politics."

Ms Patterson spoke out against her party earlier this month when former special advisor Emma Pengelly was selected to be co-opted to the Assembly to replace Jimmy Spratt.

She said she felt snubbed by the move.

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