SDLP Leader of the Opposition Matthew O’Toole has said that the failure to establish the Stormont institutions is testing the public’s faith in politics.
Mr O’Toole was speaking after the Assembly recall on Thursday.
He said the DUP’s decision to stop the institutions from functioning was making people in the North consider alternative constitutional arrangements.
South Belfast MLA Mr O’Toole said:
“The latest failure to restore the institutions at Stormont today has left us facing an unwanted winter Assembly election that would be a shameful failure and should not be allowed to happen. We cannot be knocking on the doors of people across the North, who are struggling to heat their homes and put food on their table, and asking them to vote, but that’s the situation the DUP’s boycott has left us in with the likely result achieving nothing more than further polarising society here and increasing cynicism.
“Getting the Assembly and Executive up and running again would not be a panacea for the issues impacting people in our communities, but it’s ridiculous to say that local representatives taking decisions on everything from the cost of living emergency to our crumbling health service would not be in the best interests of people here.
“The SDLP has always strived to make these institutions work, we have taken tough decisions and made big gestures because it was in the best interests of people in Northern Ireland. We remain committed to making politics work here, but the fact is that the repeated failure of Stormont to deliver for people here has led to many losing faith and is increasing conversation around future relationships on these islands.
“If the political chaos here continues it is inevitable that people’s attentions will turn to building a new North, in a new Ireland, inside Europe. Everyone here deserves more than what they’ve been getting from their politics and the SDLP will keep working to deliver a social democratic new Ireland that lifts people out of poverty and delivers a better life for everyone on this island.”