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Parties must help DUP avert direct rule catastrophe

Published 25/09/2015

The ongoing talks represent an opportunity for Northern Ireland - provided that people can put the country first and resist the temptation to play political games.

For longer than any other party, the DUP has been calling for the reform of the Stormont system. We believe in devolution, but recent events have shown that the model of devolution that presently exists and was created by the Belfast Agreement parties in 1998 is in need of an upgrade.

To achieve this will require all parties to give their support for reform.

The crisis around the budget is a perfect example of how one or two parties have abused the system in order to put their party interest ahead of the good government of Northern Ireland.

Those parties are helping sap public confidence in devolution by their stubborn attitude. Yet the record shows devolution is good for NI.

If we are to avert the ultimate catastrophe of the reintroduction of direct rule and the imposition of Tory diktat throughout Northern Ireland, then other parties - specifically the SDLP and Sinn Fein - need to start putting the community first.

CHRISTOPHER STALFORD

DUP policy unit

Belfast Telegraph

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