Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland government teetering, Gerry Adams warns David Cameron

By Steven Alexander

Gerry Adams has used the 10th anniversary of the IRA formally ending its armed campaign to warn the Prime Minister that Stormont is facing collapse due to his austerity policies.

The Executive has been teetering on the brink for many months due to a bitter row over implementing welfare reforms, which have been vetoed in the Assembly by nationalists.

The deadlock has contributed to a black hole in the Executive's budget, running to hundreds of millions of pounds.

Last night Sinn Fein leader Mr Adams said the end of the IRA campaign a decade ago "broke the long cycle of conflict and opened up new political possibilities".

"But the progress that was made over many years is now in severe jeopardy, not least because of the attitude of Mr Cameron," he said. "The political structures negotiated so painstakingly as part of the Good Friday Agreement face collapse as a result of the British Government's ideologically driven austerity agenda.

"By slashing hundreds of millions of pounds from the finances of the North's Executive, the British Government has attacked the ability of the political institutions to deliver for citizens."

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness yesterday met State Department officials at the White House to brief the US administration on the crisis. The Sinn Fein MLA described the encounter as "positive and encouraging".

However, DUP Finance Minister Arlene Foster said Mr McGuinness would have been better to stay at home and talk to other parties here.

"Martin McGuinness's trip is a waste of time, because Westminster of course is in charge of our budget," she said.

"After these visits have taken place we will get a statement from the (US) administration urging us all to work together and that's exactly what we should be doing here in Northern Ireland. There is no need to go to America to get that message across."

Belfast Telegraph


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