6/09/2006

Directly Undermining Progress

Almost a week has gone by and still our beloved MLAs can't decide on even a chair for the Preparation for Government committee. Peter Hain seems somewhat frustrated and has warned MLAs that this issue needs to be sorted by Monday.

It seems that most of the parties are agreed that, unsurprisingly, it is the DUP who are causing the problem. Given the quality of representation the DUP put on the committe (Baby Doc and the singing president of the Billy Wright Fan Club), it was clear from the start that the DUP were not taking this seriously and so it has been prooved. Paisley Junior was coming out with more nonsense yesterday saying that Sinn Féin "wanted a power grab to hold the chair." Of course, this is completly ridiculous. Sinn Féin have tried to progress in a positive manner and have supported two suggestions - that the committee be chaired on a rotating basis starting with Alliance's David Forde or that alternatively the committee be chaired jointly by the deputy speakers, Francie Molloy of SF and the DUP's Jim Wells. Neither of these suggestion constitute a power grab.

It is becoming abundantly clear that the DUP are determined to put up every obstacle possible to stall progress towards a power sharing executive. All they want to do is to take part in meaningless debates in a powerless assembly. This is unacceptable and no party who is serious about restoring meaningful devolution should pander to this DUP agenda. Given the destructive manner in which the DUP have approached affairs at Stormont so far, I would support Conor Murphy's call for Peter Hain to publish the proposals for Plan B which will be put into effect if the DUP continue their intransigence past the November 24th deadline. Perhpas this will focus DUP minds a little better over the summer months.

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