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Sinn Fein's fury at Iain Duncan Smith's call to back welfare reforms

By Steven Alexander

It is time for Sinn Fein to bite the bullet on welfare reforms, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has said.

The Conservative MP told republicans at Stormont to face up to their responsibilities.

Sinn Fein has so far refused to implement the controversial Westminster reforms, which has led to cuts to Northern Ireland’s funding from London.

And the political fallout has even seen senior politicians issue dire predictions that the Assembly could collapse due to the ongoing budget crisis.

Speaking in the House of Commons, DUP MP Ian Paisley Jr asked Mr Duncan Smith it he was “aware of the impending crisis to the stability of institutions in Northern Ireland as a result of the failure to implement significant reforms to the welfare system there?

“If he is aware of those threats, what message has he for Sinn Fein, which has failed to introduce those changes and appears to be more interested in the need of residents in Monaghan than those in Northern Ireland?”

“They can't have it all ways,” Mr Duncan Smith replied.

“If they get the welfare bill through, they will benefit from the support they will get, but they can't sit in limbo land.

“I support what the Hon. Gentleman has just said — it is time for Sinn Fein to get on and do what an elected Government need to do.”

But last night Newry and Armagh MP Conor Murphy hit back and said Sinn Féin will continue its opposition to “vicious Tory welfare cuts”.

“Sinn Féin won’t be taking lectures on our responsibilities to the electorate from Mr Duncan Smith or anyone else in Cameron’s millionaire cabinet,” he said.

“These cuts have been an attack on the most vulnerable people in society, taking money out of the pockets of low-paid workers, people with disabilities, lone parents and the poor.”

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