Sinn Fein MLA warns powersharing is in “crisis”

Peter Robinson says ‘everybody should cool their jets’ and keep politics moving forward

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams attacked First Minister Peter Robinson (pictured)  in the Dáil this week and talked about a “crisis” within loyalism and unionism

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams attacked First Minister Peter Robinson (pictured) in the Dáil this week and talked about a “crisis” within loyalism and unionism

Thu, Sep 26, 2013, 01:00

Sinn Féin has gone on the offensive in its dispute with the DUP with its North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly ratcheting up the latest row between the two parties to the level of a powersharing “crisis”.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams also attacked First Minister Peter Robinson in the Dáil this week and talked about a “crisis” within loyalism and unionism, while Sinn Féin Minister for Culture Carál Ní Chuilín has accused Northern Secretary Theresa Villiers of being “partisan, provocative and unhelpful”.

Most worrying
The most worrying comments from a British and Irish government perspective came from Mr Kelly, who yesterday warned that the relationship between Mr Robinson and Mr McGuinness was “not workmanlike” and that powersharing was in serious difficulty. “We are in a crisis,” he said.

At a Stormont press conference yesterday evening, Mr Robinson played down the Sinn Féin claims.

“Everybody should cool their jets” and get on with resolving political problems, he said.

“I have been involved in a number of crises over the years. I have to say our present circumstances don’t have that feel about them at all.”

These latest salvoes from senior Sinn Féin figures stem from Mr Robinson’s decision last month to withdraw from an agreement with Sinn Féin to establish a peace and reconciliation centre at the Maze.

There appeared to be careful orchestration to this three-pronged approach by Sinn Féin to highlight current tensions.

North Belfast MLA Mr Kelly went on BBC Radio Ulster’s Stephen Nolan Show yesterday morning to accuse the DUP of failing to stand up to hardline unionists such as Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister.

He contended that the DUP was in fear of those loyalists and unionists who were driving the flags and parading protests. It was a case of “the tail wagging the dog”, said Mr Kelly.

‘Lack of leadership’
In a clear reference to Mr Robinson, he complained of a DUP “lack of leadership”. He said Sinn Féin stands by the agreement and does not “run away” from its opponents within republicanism.

In the Dáil on Tuesday, Mr Adams also criticised what he said was Mr Robinson’s lack of political leadership.

Recent months, he added, witnessed the DUP “reneging” on the agreement for the Maze reconciliation centre and on the streets organised sectarian violence including a loyalist assault of the Sinn Féin lord mayor of Belfast Máirtín Ó Muilleoir.