Ulster Unionist Party Leader Robin Swann MLA has expressed his frustration that crucial decisions that need made will not be addressed by the Secretary of State’s proposed legislation she intends to bring forward in the Autumn.
Robin Swann MLA said:
“We were underwhelmed by what we heard at our meeting with the Secretary of State. There was no bite, no detail and no direction in what we heard.
“I found it completely frustrating. There is an expectation out there amongst the public that the legislation which the Secretary of State is going to bring forward would offer progress on some of those important issues that have been left on the shelf since the collapse of the Assembly and Executive.
“However from our conversation today it seems that things like the suicide prevention strategy, implementation of the recommendations of the Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry and equality of pay for public sector workers in Northern Ireland in line with their colleagues in the rest of the UK will not be addressed.
“We put forward a proposal to the Secretary of State to bring parties around the table to give guidance or provide political cover, if that’s what’s needed, on such issues to progress those crucial decisions. It is clear from our discussions today that without any clear deadline or framework, the prospect of talks getting underway now or in the near future are very slim and Northern Ireland cannot just be left to wither on the vine.
“We left the Secretary of State in no doubt that she needs to take her role as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland seriously and she can no longer continue to abdicate responsibility. Northern Ireland is now sitting in a state of paralysis with no decisions being made and the proposals which she is considering bringing forward won`t see those decisions being made. She has a duty to the citizens of Northern Ireland on behalf of the United Kingdom Government. She wouldn’t accept her constituents being left in the lurch by their Government, so she’ll understand that I’m not willing to accept any less for mine.”