SDLP Deputy Leader and Executive Minister Nichola Mallon has said that a DUP campaign to obstruct North-South Ministerial Council meetings risks delaying projects and programmes that will benefit communities across Northern Ireland.
The North Belfast MLA said that Ministers have a legal and moral obligation to uphold the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts and that the SDLP would not stand for attempts to renege on North-South cooperation.
Nichola Mallon MLA said:
“There is a huge amount of tension in our communities. The scenes on the streets of Belfast, Derry and elsewhere over the last few weeks have visibly demonstrated how difficult things are and how stretched relationships have become.
“The answer to political difficulties has always been for leaders to work relentlessly in the common interests of all the people we represent. We should be redoubling our efforts to use the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement to deliver for people. Instead of working together, however, the DUP is doubling down on the politics of division. Their campaign of deliberate obstruction of North-South cooperation flies in the face of everything we’ve learned over the last fifty years.
“I understand their position on the Northern Ireland Protocol. But to block key meetings of the North-South institutions designed to advance important projects and programmes is an abdication of the legal and moral responsibilities of government. The DUP doesn’t get to decide which elements of the Good Friday Agreement are implemented and they should stop allowing Jim Allister to be the piper playing their tune.
“The SDLP is in the Executive to work hard with others in the substantial common interests of all our people. That includes working with Ministers across these islands to transform this society. Obstructing that vision is unacceptable to us and the DUP must urgently review their position.”