Belfast Telegraph

Situation between Sinn Fein and DUP is politics at its most puerile

Editor's Viewpoint

Northern Ireland people have a love affair with planes as shown by the huge crowds who attend airshows here. There is a special affection for those flying machines from bygone days. So there will be many people disappointed by the latest manifestation of our dysfunctional Government.

Sinn Fein's umbrage over the DUP's decision last year to block the creation of a peace centre at the site of the former Maze Prison has led to the party blocking a display of aircraft there by the Ulster Aviation Society.

This is politics at its most puerile. Sinn Fein and the DUP hold effective vetoes on every decision at Stormont and often seem to exercise them just to annoy each other.

The Ulster Aviation Society is a charity based at the Maze. Last year its show of vintage aircraft attracted more than 5,000 people and this year it wanted to stage the show over two days.

Quite disgracefully, the charity did not even receive a reply to its request 10 months ago for permission to hold the show.

What sort of Government treats the public in such a cavalier and disrespectful way? Anywhere else in the UK there would be an outcry with ministers under pressure to explain their behaviour or even resign.

Here we simply shake our heads and lose another little bit of faith in the democratic process. This charity has nowhere else to go, but its base at the Maze is ideal for its purposes except for the fact that it is caught up in a dogfight between the province's two main parties.

Of course both sides claim the other is to blame for this fiasco.

It is always so.

The blame never sticks and the parties feel that there is never an electoral price to pay for their behaviour.

But we should contrast the behaviour of these parties with the selflessness of this newspaper's readers, who, when the very future of the UK was in peril, stumped up the money to buy 17 Spitfires for the RAF.

Now our political representatives cannot even agree to show off a replica of that fighting machine.

Belfast Telegraph


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