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SDLP’s Conal McDevitt hits out at Robinson’s cross-community claims

By Liam Clarke

A senior SDLP figure has challenged Peter Robinson’s claim that he is turning the DUP into a cross-community party.

South Belfast MLA Conall McDevitt is the first nationalist politician to bite back after the First Minister’s article seeking Catholic support in yesterday’s Belfast Telegraph.

Mr Robinson cited the Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey, which found that 52% of Catholics wanted to remain in the UK.

The First Minister and DUP chief said he aimed to attract some of them “to vote DUP or, better still, identify more closely with the party”.

Mr McDevitt claimed the DUP’s record did not match this ideal.

“These are fine and noble words but where are the actions from Mr Robinson and his party colleagues? Not too long ago he publicly stated he could not support an SDLP justice minister,” Mr McDevitt said.

“The question must be posed — what have Mr Robinson and the DUP done since the return of devolution to end sectarianism?”

And the SDLP man added: “It is time reconciliation was put at the heart of government and a serious attempt made to mend the fault lines between classes and traditions.”

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