Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Poots should know meaning of 'democratic'

Recently, Environment Minister Edwin Poots announced that he has started a consultation into double-jobbing councillors who hold other elected posts to decide if they should lose their allowances.

This exercise is a waste of taxpayers' money. This issue was argued democratically during the Dawn Purvis-sponsored private members bill, when a majority of MLAs endorsed it.

The egos of the DUP took a beating after their amendments were defeated, so they used a clause from the Good Friday Agreement - petition of concern - to veto this bill.

Few, if any, people could call the rules at Stormont totally democratic, but it is the best we could get because of our recent violent history.

So when we have an opportunity to exercise real democracy, it is disappointing when a party vetoes that democracy for selfish gain - and adds insult to injury by costing us more money just to show they are our masters.

If the DUP believes in democracy, it is not too late for Edwin Poots and his party to stop this consultation period.

Let the people decide, instead of dictating to them. The DUP should know that when they lose an argument, it is not shameful, it is democracy. Live up to your name, DUP - be democratic.

STEPHEN BLACKER

Ballymena, Co Antrim

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