26 July 2019
DUP Leader Rt. Hon. Arlene Foster MLA spoke to the new Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Julian Smith MP by telephone on Friday morning.
Commenting afterwards Mrs Foster said,
“I was unable to be in Belfast today but I am glad that Julian Smith has taken an early opportunity to engage with local parties.
The biggest single issue facing Northern Ireland is the ongoing need to have decisions made which impact on our schools, roads and hospitals.
I assured the Secretary of State that we will work earnestly to have the institutions restored. We have not placed any red-lines or pre-conditions to an Executive being formed.
There is space in order for progress to be made and for agreement to be reached. A way forward however will only be achieved on a basis that is balanced and which everyone in our society can buy in to.
I want to see devolution restored and decisions taken locally in Northern Ireland. If that does not happen then it will be necessary for all decisions to be taken at Westminster.
Those parties throwing dust in the air about the DUP Confidence and Supply Agreement with the Conservative Party were silent about the SDLP being the sister party of Labour when Tony Blair was in power. Indeed, more recently the Liberal Democrats were in government as the sister party of the Alliance Party and Naomi Long now sits with the Lib Dems in the European Parliament.
The C&S has delivered £1b for everyone in Northern Ireland. Those shouting most about the C&S are only creating distractions. Sinn Fein criticise links with the Government in London which have benefitted everyone here, yet see no hypocrisy in wanting to be part of a government in Dublin.”