SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster Patsy McGlone
has warned that the political parties must now focus on restoring the
Executive as a priority. The Mid Ulster MLA was commenting on the political
situation ahead of resuming talks at Stormont as part of the SDLP team.
Mr McGlone said, “Whilst the result of
the Westminster election was disappointing for the SDLP, we will dust
ourselves down and come back stronger.
“That election confirmed the DUP as
the largest party in the North. They hold pole position with the influence
their seats in Westminster give them on a Tory party determined to form a
minority government. The DUP must use that influence for the benefit of all
the people of Northern Ireland, and not just for narrow party political
“But it is ironic to hear Sinn Féin
complain about the DUP’s new-found influence. Sinn Féin’s decision to
abdicate the responsibility of being an elected public representative in
Westminster has gifted the DUP that position. It has also destroyed forever
the Sinn Féin abstentionist argument that Northern Irish MPs have no impact
in the House of Commons.
“If their seven seats translated into
seven active votes the Tories would find it much more difficult to return to
power. We could have seen an end to austerity and an end to the cuts to
public services. Instead of which, the Sinn Féin MPs will be ignored and the
voices of the people in those seven constituencies will be ignored, and we
will all pay the price.
“Now, though, all parties must focus
on restoring the Executive as a priority.
“There is plenty of work to be done,
and the clock is ticking.
“Our society and our economy need
locally elected representatives in the Executive making the decisions
required to navigate the many challenges ahead, and being held accountable
for those decisions in the Assembly.
“The SDLP is ready and willing to do
that. The outcome of the resumed talks will show whether other parties are.”