Gardiner 'disappointed but not surprised' joint authority motion was blocked

Tina Gardiner.
Tina Gardiner.

SDLP councillor Tina Gardiner has said she was “disappointed but not surprised” when Sinn Féin failed to back a SDLP motion at Derry City and Strabane District Council that called on both the Irish and British Governments to immediately convene the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (BIIGC) in the absence of a functioning executive and Assembly.

She was speaking after Thursday evening's monthly meeting of DC&SDC when she tabled a motion proposing that "given the recent failure of the SF/DUP talks and the urgent requirement for proper governance in Northern Ireland, which reflects the requirements, cultures and aspirations of our diverse communities, Council calls on both the Irish and British Governments to immediately convene the British - Irish Intergovernmental Conference in the absence of a functioning Executive and Assembly; and further calls on the Irish and British Governments to strengthen the implementation and workings of institutions under Strands 2 and 3 of the Good Friday Agreement".

The motion fell, having failed to garner sufficient support, as did a Sinn Féin amendment, which proposed instead that "given the Sinn Féin and the SDLP's stated opposition to Direct Rule and the urgent requirement for proper governance in Northern Ireland, which reflects the requirements, cultures and aspirations of our diverse communities, Council calls on both the Irish and British Governments to immediately convene the British - Irish Intergovernmental Conference in the absence of a functioning Executive and Assembly; and further calls on the Irish and British Governments to strengthen the implementation and workings of institutions under Strands 2 and 3 of the Good Friday Agreement".

Speaking after the meeting Colr. Gardiner said: "I am extremely disappointed but not surprised that Sinn Féin united with the DUP to block the SDLP motion that called on the Irish and British Governments to immediately convene the BIIGC in the absence of a functioning executive and Assembly. Sinn Féin instead attempted to amend the motion simply to remove any responsibility they had to secure a deal with the DUP to restore government."

More on this story later.