Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland can’t be left in limbo says Dodds as he welcomes more decisions taken in London

By Suzanne Breen

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds has said the Government will be asking Parliament to deal with more issues relating to Northern Ireland in the coming days.

Secretary of State Karen Bradley last week outlined a budget following the failure of the DUP and Sinn Fein to restore power-sharing at Stormont.

Further moves in Westminster will be seen increasingly as direct rule 'light'.

Sinn Fein last night said the DUP deputy leader's comments showed the disarray in his party, which was "rudderless and all at sea".

Mr Dodds said: "Decisions are beginning to be taken which for too long have been left in abeyance as a result of Sinn Fein crashing the Executive.

"In the coming days, Parliament will be asked by Government to deal with a number of Northern Ireland measures, including legislation to cover financial matters. Whilst awaiting the return of devolution, people and services in Northern Ireland cannot be left in limbo."

Mr Dodds described the £12bn spending plan for Northern Ireland unveiled at Westminster last Thursday as "a significant and welcome step by the Government".

He said: "The inclusion of the £410m in extra new money as part our 'confidence and supply' agreement was positive news for everyone here.

"The benefits will accrue to all parts of Northern Ireland, both urban and rural, as well as to both sides of the community, both unionist and nationalist. There were those who claimed it would never come and those who claimed it was dependent on an Executive being formed. They are very silent now."

He added: "This is the continuation of the roll-out of the confidence and supply arrangements. We expect further announcements to be made shortly."

Sinn Fein MLA Sinead Ennis said: "Nigel Dodds' latest comments are further evidence of the disarray in the DUP.

"They are lacking any clear leadership, they are rudderless and all at sea.

"The DUP crashed the political talks and prevented the re-establishment of political institutions which would deliver for all citizens and which would extend rights enjoyed by citizens everywhere else on these islands which even their Tory partners take for granted.

"The DUP have checked out of partnership government, preferring to back Tory cuts and austerity and a ruinous Brexit for our economy, for farmers and for workers' and human rights."

Ms Ennis accused Mr Dodds' party of putting the survival of the Tories above its own voters' interests.

"The DUP/Tory cuts budget doesn't provide the resources needed to provide the public services our people need and deserve - seven government departments are having their budgets reduced," she said.

"The much-heralded 'additional' DUP money is not additional at all but is being used to plug gaps due to continuing cuts to our budgets by the British Government - with, of course, the full agreement of the DUP."

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