Derry Journal


Little To Offer, Nowhere To Go

Tuesday 21st September 2004

Given its record, does the DUP really expect us to believe that it can deliver for all the people of Northern Ireland -Catholic and Protestant?

Despite the DUP's declared opposition to the Good Friday Agreement, the party's Assembly members and its ministers have been happy to avail of the opportunities provided for by the deal.

For instance, DUP members took part in all Assembly committees, no matter who was involved.

In addition, DUP ministers, while not attending Executive meetings, corresponded with the Executive seeking approval for various members.

If the DUP can sit with other Assembly members in committees and can correspond with the Executive and meet with some Executive ministers, how can the party honestly say it does not countenance the Agreement?

The DUP's stand is hypocritical and is becoming increasingly seen as such.

DUP Assembly members know that the public wants the Agreement to work. They themselves have shown by their actions that they, too, want it to work. But still they are unable to find the words to say this openly and clearly.

If the DUP is really opposed to the Agreement, then its members should not have participated in committees, should not have taken ministerial positions and should have severed all contact with the Executive. This would have been the honest approach.

The time has come for the DUP to speak sincerely and stop pretending to be opposed to the Good Friday Agreement.

It is time the DUP began working all aspects of the Agreement as fully as everyone else. In fact, it is time for the DUP to be straight with its electorate.

The future lies with those who support the Good Friday Agreement and the benefits it can bring to all sections of society in the North.

The people of Northern Ireland are now demanding that all political leaders play their full part in making the new institutions work.

Anti-Agreement unionist politicians have little to offer and nowhere to go.

Each and every strategy that they have peddled to date has had a defined purpose in mind - to destroy the power-sharing institutions and shatter the peace process.

Unionist politicians need to learn from their own history. Every time they have rejected a reasonable accommodation they have only narrowed their own options.

The 'No' men of Unionism are deliberately misleading their supporters. They claim they can retain some parts of the Agreement while scrapping others such as inclusivity.

However, what they seem to forget is that the Agreement comes as a package. It is only by working together that we can truly overcome the deep divisions in our society.

After all, if unionist and nationalist politicians are unable to work together, how can we expect unionist and nationalist people to live together?

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