Unionists controlling power-sharing government agenda, say nationalists

The North's power-sharing government is being driven by a Democratic Unionist party (DUP) agenda, nationalists claimed today.

The North's power-sharing government is being driven by a Democratic Unionist party (DUP) agenda, nationalists claimed today.

Margaret Ritchie, Social Development Minister in the power-sharing government for the SDLP, told her party conference she would oppose unionist pressure.

She also claimed Sinn Féin was not up to the job.

"We stand for a united Ireland," she said. "No one should ever die or kill in pursuit of that goal or insistence to it.

"To achieve it we must persuade those who do not share that aspiration, to come around to our way of thinking."

She said unionists had nothing to fear from a shared future, but she said that was not what was being delivered by the current DUP/Sinn Féin dominated government.

She said of the Stormont power-sharing regime: "It is moving ahead entirely on a DUP agenda.

"Be it Policing and Justice, the Irish language, the Maze, post-primary education or even extending funding to loyalist paramilitaries, the DUP is making all the running and Sinn Féin is trailing along behind them.

"This is because the DUP can get up in the morning and deal with political detail and Sinn Féin cannot.

"Sinn Féin is still a protest party and that is all it knows."

The minister said she would continue to push for social housing to be developed on the site of the former Girdwood British Army base in north Belfast.

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