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DUP has 'major responsibility' in restoring Executive: Ahern

By Noel McAdam

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has warned the DUP it faces a "major responsibility" in efforts to restore a power-sharing Executive.

Following his mini-summit with Tony Blair in London on Tuesday, Mr Ahern argued there is no reason for further delay to the British and Irish governments' restoration timetable of March 26.

And he told the Dail that "if there is no intention to set up the Executive" the two governments will move immediately to the so-called Plan B, giving Dublin an enhanced role in the administration of Northern Ireland.

In the aftermath of the Sinn Fein ard fheis supporting policing in principle, "there is a major responsibility on the Democratic Unionist Party," he said.

"Nobody is entitled to sit on their hands. It may not be easy for some of them, but all the parties must face this responsibility," he said.

Mr Ahern said the March 7 election was for the explicit purpose of endorsing the St Andrews Agreement and electing an Assembly to form a power-sharing Executive. DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson, however, said while he welcomed the steps taken by Sinn Fein in recent days, it remained resolute in demanding "complete delivery from republicans on the policing issue" .

"It is vital that all those who seek to be in government are committed fully in terms of both words and actions to exclusively peaceful and democratic means," the East Belfast MP added.

Mr Robinson yesterday briefed Conservative Party Leader David Cameron on the political situation. He added: "It is clear there is support for the DUP's stance right across the UK and we intend to ensure that republicans meet the standards which are required of them in order to see political progress here and the establishment of devolution."

Belfast Telegraph


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