Belfast Telegraph

'Washington must know SF is blocking devolution' says DUP Nigel Dodds ahead of US trip

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds has said that Washington must know Sinn Fein is to blame for the collapse of power-sharing at Stormont.

A number of DUP representatives will travel to the United States this week for the St Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Party leader Arlene Foster has asked Mr Dodds to attend events in Washington DC including the Speaker’s Lunch on behalf of the Party.

Mr Dodds will also have meetings with senior officials in the State Department as well attending events to promote Northern Ireland including a breakfast event at the NI Bureau.

Commenting ahead of his visit North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds said Sinn Fein were blocking devolution.

“It is important that the unionist voice is heard in Washington over the next number of days. It is important that people in the USA know, just as people at home know that the Assembly and Executive could be restored tomorrow on the basis of the Programme for Government," he said.

"People in Washington should know that four out of five parties in Northern Ireland would form an Executive tomorrow. Sinn Fein is the only party blocking that. For thirteen months Sinn Fein has disgracefully stood in the way of key decisions impacting on schools, roads and hospitals.

"The people of Northern Ireland should not have to suffer because of Sinn Fein’s party political priorities. That’s why it is welcome that a number of decisions will be taken by the Secretary of State. We look forward to further decisions being taken in London which will help everyone in Northern Ireland.

"As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, it is more important than ever that linkages are built with the United States and the DUP will continue to use our influence at Westminster for the good of everyone in Northern Ireland.”

DUP North Antrim MP Ian Paisley has been invited to the White House by President Donald Trump. The two men have known each other for the past ten years and Mr Paisley was a guest of the President last year after his inauguration.

Mr Paisley said that Northern Ireland and the United states have a special relationship.

“It's an honour to meet the President of the United States but especially so as our two nations embark upon extending the special relationship in trade and culture," he said.

"I will dine with the President and also attend a White House reception. I will be encouraging him to continue to support Northern Ireland. Our cultures are tied by history and trade. We must continue to develop such links.”

Mr Paisley, along with colleagues, will attend other events and meetings to promote Northern Ireland.

Lagan Valley MLAs Edwin Poots and Paul Givan have been invited to Washington DC as guests of the pro-life group Family and Life.

During this visit they will meet a number of organisations focused on defending the rights of the unborn child. 

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