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Sinn Fein and the DUP 'need to find a new way' as government 'creates chaos from crisis and conflict from challenge'

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Poor: SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has criticised the DUP and Sinn Fein

Poor: SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has criticised the DUP and Sinn Fein

Poor: SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has criticised the DUP and Sinn Fein

The record of the Executive after the restoration of the Assembly a year ago today has been one of a "government that creates chaos from crisis and conflict from challenge", the SDLP leader has said.

The power-sharing government re-opened its doors last January 11 three years after Sinn Fein walked out of the Executive in the wake of the 'cash for ash' scandal.

But Foyle MP and SDLP leader Colum Eastwood MP said that the relationship between the DUP and Sinn Fein since then was "dysfunctional and divisive".

Mr Eastwood said the unprecedented events of the last year had called for a new approach to devolved government here from the DUP and Sinn Fein.

"Far too often they still choose an approach to government that creates chaos from crisis and conflict from challenge. That approach doesn't serve the interests of good government and it definitely doesn't serve the interests of our people," he said.

He added: "After over 10 failed years at the top of government together, it's time for the DUP and Sinn Fein to accept they must take a very different approach. An approach focused on delivery, not division and dysfunction."

However, DUP and Sinn Fein ministers pointed to successes during the year.

Education Minister Peter Weir outlined how a "significant investment" of £7m was provided this year to support remote learning during the pandemic lockdown.

"Since the initial period of school closures, an estimated 12,000 devices owned by schools were identified as available for lending to pupils," he said.

"A further 3,664 new laptops that had been purchased as part of the primary school refresh programme were repurposed and loaned out to learners. In addition 8,000 further devices were purchased and made available to schools based on pupil need."

Sinn Fein Finance Minister Conor Murphy said his Department had "gone over and beyond its remit to support people during the Covid pandemic".

Amongst a list of achievements his department reported was £3bn in Covid support schemes; same-sex marriage laws; the publication of the RHI report; and greater accountability arrangements for Special Advisers and Ministers.

Belfast Telegraph


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