SDLP statement on proposal to adjourn the NI Assembly

This afternoon the SDLP confirmed it would vote against a DUP proposal to adjourn the Assembly in favour of maintaining functioning institutions.

Unlike others who rushed to judgement, we have been steady and spoken to everyone, including the Irish Government, about the current situation. Our decision has been to oppose the adjournment of the Assembly. It offers no real solution.

In our meeting with the Taoiseach this morning we offered a number of constructive proposals including the introduction of a representative of the American Government as a new independent chair, allowing space for a comprehensive resolution involving everyone.

This crisis has been created by the failings of Sinn Féin and the DUP. Together they have damaged confidence, the institutions, good government and the fundamental values of the Good Friday Agreement.

The SDLP are not in the business of giving cover for or working to DUP or Sinn Fein agendas. We are in the business of defending and delivering upon the promise of the Good Friday Agreement and ensuring that these institutions work for the good of our people. We will continue to stand up for these institutions. It is disgraceful that others would seek to jeopardise them. But that is their decision and they must be held responsible for it.

We will not cross the wires of politics and policing as the DUP have done upon recent arrests. We feel the Assembly can and should do business while the talks take place and should not be put at risk by political brinkmanship. You cannot stabilise the institutions by bringing them down.

All too often we in Stormont are accused of living in a bubble. People are sick of the Assembly lurching from one crisis to the other. They should be. We are.

We need to be responsible and we will be. An adjournment will not resolve this problem.

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