‘Thatcherite agenda greatest threat to progress’ – SF MLA

Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney.

Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney.

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Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney says the British government’s austerity policies are a real threat to the future of the political institutions in the North.

The Derry Assemblyman was speaking at a meeting of republican activists and supporters in Derry tonight.

He said: “The political process in the North is currently facing a greater threat than at any time since 1998 as a result of the austerity policies of the British government.

“The political structures created as a result of the Good Friday Agreement face collapse because of the Thatcherite agenda of the Tories.”

Mr. McCartney said his party wanted to see the political institutions working and delivering for everyone in the community.

“But that will require sustainable and workable finances for the Executive,” he said.

“We need to see a new approach from the British government, as well as the Irish government, to resolve the current difficulties.

“Clearly the British government needs to re-engage with the peace and political processes in the North to ensure the progress made over the last two decades is not lost.”

Mr. McCartney’s remarks echo those of his party colleague Martin McGuinness who believes the North’s power-sharing government is “in peril”.

The Deputy First Minister, speaking during a trip to Washington DC this week, said he told senior White House officials that the Stormont institutions faced a “real crisis”.

“The political institutions, and the progress we have made over the last two decades of the peace process, are under a real threat and it is my hope that the US administration can encourage the British government to take a more positive approach on dealing with the North,” he said.

Mr. McGuinness insisted US politicians were still engaged with the political situation in Northern Ireland.

“The US administration clearly remains engaged with the political process in the North and they continue to play a constructive role,” he said.

“I had a positive and encouraging meeting with senior officials at the White House.”