O’Toole: Sinn Féin, DUP and TUV team up to block Assembly reform

matthew o'toole Assembly reform

Leader of the Opposition at Stormont Matthew O’Toole MLA has said people will be badly let down by an Executive where the First Minister and deputy First Minister oppose reform to end the toxic veto that has damaged public services and the interests of public sector workers over the last decade.

Mr O’Toole said that he was surprised that Michelle O’Neill’s party opposed reform after urging the DUP to return to power sharing for two years.

Leader of the Opposition Matthew O’Toole MLA said:

“At the first opportunity to show that government will be different and to commit to departing from the politics of division and deadlock - the Executive has, sadly, failed.

“Sinn Féin and the DUP teamed up today, as they have so often in the past, to defend their toxic power to veto the functioning of government and to maintain a threat to public services over the lifetime of this mandate.

“Anytime they have collapsed power sharing the result has been the same - hospital waiting lists get longer, patients get sicker, housing lists grow, and public sector workers pay the price. Today was an opportunity to draw a line in the sand and say enough is enough, we will all work together in the interests of the people we represent.

“I am particularly surprised that First Minister Michelle O’Neill declined to endorse reform today after two years of demanding the DUP return to power sharing. This was a chance to show people that things have changed - it is an opportunity missed. It’s the same old story and that’s a real shame.

“The First Minister and deputy First Minister broke Assembly conventions by refusing to respond to this debate today - the least they owe the public is an explanation for their view that the status quo is good enough for the people we represent. The SDLP Opposition will continue to campaign for reform that meets the needs of everyone in our society.”

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