SDLP Stormont leader Matthew O’Toole has hit out at the DUP’s stalling tactics and pathetic game playing as Jeffrey Donaldson again elevated unworkable fantasy proposals from hardline Tory Brexiteers over the interests of ordinary citizens in Northern Ireland.
Amid delay and incoherence over plans for a DUP return to Stormont, Jeffrey Donaldson spoke to a Centre for Brexit Policy event in London endorsing an idea for post-Brexit trade – mutual enforcement in Northern Ireland – which has long been dismissed as unworkable and economically damaging.
O’Toole, also the SDLP’s Brexit spokesperson – said that for Donaldson to restart the DUP’s ill-fated flirtation with hardline Tory Brexiteers at a time of crisis in NI public services was an appalling dereliction of leadership.
Matthew O’Toole said:
“Some have been hoping against hope that the DUP was moving towards a more rational position following the Windsor Framework, but their renewed flirtation with hard Brexiteer fantasies like mutual enforcement seems to mark a regression. It isn’t just nationalists, remainers or the EU who think that mutual enforcement is unworkable – its business groups in Northern Ireland. It would create regulatory burdens rather than reduce them, and all but devastate our economic advantage from dual market access under the Windsor Framework/Protocol. This seems like more pathetic game playing, all while public services in Northern Ireland face brutal cuts and deepening uncertainty.
“Day after day, political representatives are hearing from public servants, community groups and their own constituents about the near-collapse of public services and the impact of planned cuts. A new Executive will not be able to solve these problems overnight, but for the DUP to play more pathetic games with Brexiteers while people suffer amid their boycott is appalling.
“The time is long past for the DUP to re-enter Stormont and allow basic governance here. If they do not so soon, more people will ask basic questions about the future viability of the jurisdiction.”