Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein need to end political 'boycott' says DUP's Nigel Dodds

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds has accused Sinn Fein of boycotting the Northern Ireland Executive, Assembly and the House of Commons.

Mr Dodds said that the party were "failing their constituents".

He was speaking from Westminster ahead of a meeting between the Sinn Fein leadership and Prime Minister Theresa May.

Party representatives including Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O'Neill will meet the PM to discuss a wide range of issues including restoring power-sharing, Brexit and conflict legacy issues.

Mr Dodd's said that the party's abstentionist policy in Westminster and "boycott" of Stormont had left them as nothing more than a "glorified lobbyist".

“They sit on the outside as spectators dependant on others to get decisions made," the North Belfast MP said. 

"Meanwhile DUP MPs will be in the House of Commons using our votes to deliver more money for hospitals and schools and ensure we get the best deal for Northern Ireland as we exit the EU.

"Rather than enter Stormont with nothing but their mandate, Sinn Fein would rather ask the Prime Minister and the Irish Government to organise a conference where no decisions can be taken. It’s a talking shop.  Northern Ireland people whether Catholic, Protestant, nationalist or unionist have witnessed enough talking. They want to see decisions made. A British Irish Imter-governmental Conference cannot deliver the outcomes people want."

Mr Dodds called on Sinn Fein to return to Stormont to allow Northern Ireland to move forward.

"The DUP has a proud record of delivery by securing an additional £1billion for everyone in Northern Ireland. That package is already helping our roads, hospitals, mental health services and schools," the DUP deputy leader said.

"Sinn Fein’s blame game may seem attractive inside their organisation but to the people who need Ministers to make decisions in Northern Ireland their tactics are becoming exposed.

"It’s time for Sinn Fein to end their triple boycott.”

Sinn Fein's Conor Murphy responded to Mr Dodds' comments and said that the party wanted partners in Government who are committed to power-sharing, rights and respect.

"Nigel Dodds shouldn’t be surprised that Sinn Fein will challenge political opponents on their denial of rights to citizens in the North," the Newry and Armagh MLA said.

"We will continue to do so because it is this denial which is preventing the restoration of a power-sharing executive and assembly in the North.

"We need partners who will legislate for all and who are committed to genuine power sharing and embrace rights and respect.

"Regrettably, the DUP remain more interested in facilitating the Tory Brexit than protecting the rights and livelihoods of people in the North."

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