UUP withdrawal from group 'irrational'

Published Thursday, 19 July 2012
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The First Minister has hit back at the Ulster Unionist Party, which has withdrawn from the Stormont Cohesion Sharing and Integration group, over a row about a series of decisions unveiled on Wednesday.

UUP withdrawal from group 'irrational'
Peter Robinson said the UUP decision was 'totally irrational'. (© UTV)

The decisions include appointing one Victims Commissioner and the future of the Maze prison site.

The First and deputy First Ministers also said "considerable progress" had been made by the working group to agree on a Cohesion Sharing and Integration Strategy, promoting better community relation and greater integration.

But the UUP has accused the two leading parties of contempt for the political process and deputy leader John McCallister said the announcement highlights that the Ministers "are not interested in inclusive politics".

"The timing and manner of the announcement by the First and deputy First Minister demonstrates clearly the contempt they hold for the political process," he said.

"Only if all parties are actively engaged can genuine agreement be reached."

Peter Robinson hit back at the Ulster Unionist Party's withdrawal from the group, which he labelled "totally irrational behaviour".

"I suspect it's more to do with the fact that the party leader's on his holidays and John McCallister thinks that he will run the party in a different way," he told UTV.

But Mr McCallister dismissed the First Minister's comments as "ridiculous", adding, "Mike had been informed of the decision."

Mr Robinson said a couple of outstanding issues were expected to be concluded by the end of the summer, leaving ministers free to fulfil their commitment on a cohesion, sharing and integration strategy, hopefully at the beginning of September.

No agreement has been reached on the future of the Department for Employment and Learning, which Mr Robinson and Mr McGuinness indicated would be scrapped.

They are content to await discussions with the other parties on the future structures of the Executive, including the number and shape of departments.

© UTV News
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6 Comments
Martin in Belfast wrote (741 days ago):
@Ryan, the DUP and SF effectively ARE the Government here. They obviously have a cross community mandate between them, so why not have an opposition made up of SDLP,UUP and Alliance? It's not as if one "side" will be able to rule over the other is it? Obviously any future Government under this system would require cross community support irrespective of the top parties at the time.
Ryan in Belfast wrote (741 days ago):
@G.Fawkes. I can tell just by your comment your a TUV voter. We DO have a democracy and Northern Ireland can only survive as a state through MANDATORY coalition.
Eamonn Andrews in Belfast wrote (742 days ago):
Stop your gernin, didnt you vote them into goverment.Live with it.
G.Fawkes in Bandbridge wrote (742 days ago):
The sectarian carve up between the DUP and their Sinn Fein political allies continue. THSI IS NOT DEMOCRACRY! IT IS A PETTY LITTLE SEMI-DICTATORSHIP STALIN WOULD HAVE BEEN PROUD OFF! End this farce now - we want real deomcracry with an OPPOSITION and ACCOUNTABIILITY!
boring news in ards wrote (742 days ago):
who cares ?more big zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
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BRIAN ROWAN
The pictures from Stormont this week showed us how politics here still walks in and out of step.
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