Dodds claims powersharing flawed


POLITICAL SYSTEM:THE CURRENT system of “mandatory coalition” at Stormont will never deliver small, just, effective and efficient government that all of Northern Ireland is “crying out for”, DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds told his party’s annual conference on Saturday.

Mr Dodds said that mandatory coalition – the current preferred term for powersharing with Sinn Féin among many unionists – was fundamentally flawed and that the task ahead for the DUP includes reform of Stormont.

“We have the right answers too on cutting government departments, North-South bodies, quangos and MLAs,” he said. “And we have the right answers on how to get there too.

“Practical sensible answers that work, not pie in the sky rhetoric that can’t.”

Mr Dodds said that the DUP must take the “political fight” to republicans and nationalists.

“Whilst the DUP has forced Sinn Féin to decommission, to support the police, the courts and the British rule of law, Sinn Féin’s key objective is anathema to everything unionists stand for,” he said.

“And so, while there can be common ground amongst politicians at times to help all of our people on economic and social issues, there can be no let up in our battle with republicans to preserve Ulster as an integral part of the United Kingdom,” he added.

Mr Dodds, in common with several speakers during the conference, directed much of his fire at Jim Allister and his Traditional Unionist Voice Party. He said the TUV could provide some entertainment but not effective politics.

“A TUV press release hasn’t stopped a single thing in Northern Ireland.

“It was a DUP ‘No’ that stopped the Irish Language Act. It is a DUP ‘No’ that blocks the expansion of a politically driven North-South agenda. It is a DUP ‘No’ that stops [Sinn Féin Education Minister] Ruane abolishing academic selection. It is a DUP ‘No’ that stops direct rule plans to force us to pay twice for water,” he said.

Mr Dodds added that the DUP’s position on devolving policing and justice powers to the Northern Executive hadn’t changed.

“It is a DUP ‘No’ that is ensuring policing and justice is not devolved except and only on the right terms and in the right time,” he said.

Mr Dodds said Mr Allister previously supported devolution but was now advocating a direct rule policy that would result in a greater role for Dublin in Northern Ireland affairs.

“He is Joint Authority Jim. Now, in the world of Joint Authority Jim, it is better to have joint Dublin-London rule with Sinn Féin pulling the strings and unionists out in the cold, without power or influence,” he added.