05 March 2018
Strangford MLA Simon Hamilton has accused the SDLP of putting an all-Ireland agenda ahead of waiting lists and budget decisions.
It comes after SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood criticised the introduction of a budget from Westminster and called again for decisions to be taken jointly by London and Dublin.
The DUP MLA said, “The arrogance of the SDLP knows no bounds. Humiliated and drummed out of the House of Commons at the last General Election they now think they have the right to accuse the DUP of dictating financial decisions when the truth is that my Party has a proven track record of securing funding that helps all our people. It seems however that adding some all-Ireland dimension to decision making is more important to the SDLP than reducing waiting lists or tackling any of the other problems we face.
It is not the DUP’s fault that the Secretary of State now must step in, again, and set a Budget for Northern Ireland. It is solely because Sinn Fein - aided and abetted by the SDLP - collapsed the Assembly over a year ago and have denied the people of Northern Ireland a functioning government ever since because they have put a political vanity project above budgets, above health and above education.
The DUP knows that our hard-pressed public services need a Budget. That’s why we’ve been pressing Her Majesty’s Government to proceed with putting one in place. We would far rather a Budget was being set by the Assembly but we cannot continue without certainty for our public services and the people who rely on them.
The DUP has shown we will use our influence at Westminster for the good of everyone in Northern Ireland. The Confidence and Supply Agreement secured £1.5bn to help build more infrastructure, improve broadband, help those with poor mental health, alleviate pressures on our hospitals and schools, transform our NHS and tackle deprivation. We won’t be lectured by the SDLP about delivering support for all of the people of Northern Ireland.
We need a Budget. Sadly, it isn’t being set at Stormont. The SDLP cannot help Sinn Fein to crash the Executive and rally to their red lines for a restoration and then complain about the inevitable consequences.”