DUP says health, education, economy suffering due to Sinn Fein intransigence


Sinn Fein intransigence is preventing Northern Ireland politicians from dealing with growing problems in health, education and the economy, the Democratic Unionists have claimed.

The DUP responded to criticism levelled by the republican party that they are the ones halting the formation of powersharing administration.

In the latest tit-for-tat round of the blame game, senior DUP member Simon Hamilton said the executive should be formed immediately, with a parallel process instigated to deal with the outstanding issues at the heart of the political rift, such as the Irish language and the ban on same sex marriage.

Talks between the parties were postponed for the summer after they failed to reach agreement.

The political impasse between the parties has left the region without a first and deputy first minister since January and a functioning executive since March.

On Sunday, Sinn Fein's Stormont leader Michelle O'Neill wrote to the UK and Irish governments and leaders of other political parties in Northern Ireland calling for negotiations to resume on Monday August 28.

Mrs O'Neill said she did not believe there was a need or public appetite for drawn-out discussions.

Mr Hamilton branded the Sinn Fein move a "stunt".

"It's a stunt by Sinn Fein to deflect away from the growing criticism there is of Sinn Fein because of their failure in helping to restore an executive is having a negative effect," he said.

He rejected the claim that the DUP was failing to implement previous agreements on the matters of dispute.

"I can go through all of the areas Sinn Fein say there were previous agreements and show them the fact there were no previous agreements," he said.

"There was no previous agreement with the DUP in respect of implementing an Irish language act."

He told BBC Radio Ulster: "The DUP would go up to Stormont this morning and form a government and deal with those difficult issues that there are around health, around education and the economy which we believe are more important than the issues which Sin Fein are stalling the restoration of an executive on.

"They are the only party that are blocking the restoration of an executive to deal with those difficult issues and there are many who are coming to the conclusion that Sinn Fein do not actually want to go back into government, that they are not serious about restoring devolution."