Social Democratic and Labour Party Leader Colum Eastwood MP has said that if the DUP and Sinn Féin cannot find a way to uphold their commitments in the New Decade, New Approach document, he and Claire Hanna MP will table amendments to legislation due at Westminster next week that will pave the way for Irish language protections and other cultural commitments to become law.
The SDLP has been working with parliamentary drafters for weeks to craft amendments that will deliver on the NDNA cultural package.
The Foyle MP said that after 14 years leading government, the DUP and Sinn Féin have clearly shown that they are incapable of delivering on the commitments they make.
Colum Eastwood MP said:
“There are hundreds of thousands of people living in pain waiting on treatment in our health service. The waiting list crisis is so bad that it threatens to fundamentally undermine our commitment to providing healthcare free at the point of need because no one can access it when they are actually at the point of need.
“We have hundreds of kids who have no secondary school place because the system is so badly broken. Parents are at their wits end, kids feel like they aren’t wanted. And the Education Minister is yet to come forward with a solution.
“It is a disgrace, in those circumstances, that Sinn Féin and the DUP are indulging themselves in a sham fight and threatening to collapse government. They have learned nothing from the last time they brought us to the brink. 14 years leading government and these parties have clearly demonstrated that they are incapable of delivering on their commitments.
“The SDLP has been working with parliamentary drafters to craft amendments that will deliver the NDNA cultural package for weeks. If the DUP and Sinn Féin cannot find a way to deliver the Irish language and other cultural commitments that they made last year, then we will step up, step in and table amendments to legislation due at Westminster next week. The SDLP stands by the promises we make.
“We are committed to tackling the waiting list crisis, the scandal in education and the coming economic challenge. It’s time for parties to wise up and grow up. We will get on with the job we were elected to do.”