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DUP 'needs to get out of time warp'

The DUP needs to get out of its time warp and engage in grown up politics, the chairman of Sinn Fein has claimed.

Declan Kearney launched his scathing attack during a keynote speech at Westminster. He told the invited audience of MPs and members of the House of Lords that the DUP leader Peter Robinson had to be more supportive in advancing the peace process.

Mr Kearney said: "He cannot be a latter day James Craig or Basil Brooke, because the Orange State has gone. He can only sit in OFM/DFM (Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minster) if he shares power properly with republicans.

"The Orange Order and loyalist bands cannot walk wherever they want; the 11 Plus isn't coming back; minorities do have rights; and nationalists in the north are no longer second class citizens.

"The DUP leadership needs to get out of its time warp, get into real time, and start doing grown-up politics with the rest of us."

Last week Mr Robinson ramped up tensions between the two power-sharing parties when he told a gathering of Democratic Unionists in Tyrone that Sinn Fein's fear of the SDLP was frequently paralysing decisions in the executive. He also claimed republicans were easily unnerved by the SDLP and accused Sinn Fein of chicanery over their opposition to the Welfare Reform Bill.

Mr Kearney hit back, saying Mr Robinson was uncomfortable representing unionists, republicans and nationalists.

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"He needs to stop talking out of both sides of his mouth, and get with the programme," said the Sinn Fein chairman.

The event was the first time Declan Kearney has spoken at Westminster.

The event was hosted by West Belfast MP Paul Maskey in the Grand Committee Room and was also attended by Baron John Alderdice, Conservative Peer Lord Glentoran and former Under Secretary of State Angela Smith.

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