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Only real solution to crisis is suspension of institutions

There is something of an inevitable reality to Sinn Fein's welfare reform U-turn, possibly even a perverse honesty. Anyone who listened to the hype surrounding the Stormont House Agreement should have recognised the "constructive ambiguity" which characterises all the so-called "deals".

Likewise, any casual observer would have clearly seen that the DUP claims of "welfare reform" and Sinn Fein's claims of "nobody is going to lose out" were opposites and not similes.

Thus, the DUP desire to be "mini-me Tories" by reducing welfare bills, could never accommodate Sinn Fein's "everyone's a winner" approach.

Even the mortgaging of our futures to enable Sinn Fein to save some face could not accommodate the anti-austerity message of our second-largest party.

Fundamentally, the problem lies with the "Executive places by right" nature of our Government. The mandatory coalition, which may have been useful in the initial phases of coming out of conflict, has run its course.

As our so-called government faces the realities of the current economic realities, the Executive cannot survive with the key parties facing in totally opposite economic directions.

Without institutional reform, the introduction of an official Opposition and the creation of a weighted, cross-community coalition, Northern Ireland will return again and again to crisis. The only real solution is a suspension of the current institutions, a full review of the current arrangements and renegotiations of the present structures.

ULTONIAN

Portadown, Co Armagh

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