DUP and Sinn Féin acknowledge worsening of relationship

DUP ministers held press conference yesterday to complain about matters arising from Sinn Féin ardfheis at the weekend

The DUP and Sinn Féin have for the first time officially acknowledged a serious deterioration in the relationship between the two parties which dominate the Northern Executive.

DUP Minister for Health Edwin Poots said the relationship between the two parties was the "poorest since 2007", while Sinn Féin Minister for Education John O'Dowd acknowledged the situation was "not good".

Mr Poots and DUP Minister for Enterprise Arlene Foster held a press conference yesterday to complain about matters that arose at the Sinn Féin ardfheis at the weekend, including Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly expressing no confidence in PSNI chief constable Matt Baggott.

They also took issue with a call for the release of Marian Price and Martin Corey whose licences releasing them from prison were revoked because of alleged dissident republican activity.


"On the one hand Martin McGuinness did state that dissident republicans were 'traitors', but he then is happy to meet the parole commissioners calling for the release of dissident prisoners Marian Price and Martin Corry," said Mr Poots.

Mr Poots also referred to a Belfast Telegraph survey of 50 Sinn Féin members at the ardfheis which found that "over a quarter of Sinn Féin activists surveyed were content to justify dissident republican violence and only 12 per cent agreed that these terrorists were 'traitors to Ireland'".

Mr O’Dowd queried the value of a survey of 50 members and accused the DUP of failing to act to prevent or properly denounce the loyalist violence around the flags disturbances and of some DUP members being directly involved in flags protests.

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty is the former Northern editor of The Irish Times