8 November 2000
David Trimble's `course for collapse'
Sinn Fein Chairperson Mitchel McLaughlin MLA has accused Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble of setting the political process on a ``course for collapse''. He said that the only people with the power to move Mr Trimble from his current position and avert the cuurent crisis are the two governments, but particularly the British Government. Mr McLaughlin said:
``We are currently facing the most serious crisis yet in the peace process. This crisis has been engineered by David Trimble and the Ulster Unionist Party and has been encouraged by the actions of the British Government over a long period. The British Government has a responsibility to protect the integrity of the Good Friday Agreement - so far, they have failed to do this.
``The UUP has set the political process on a course for collapse:
- The Good Friday Agreement requires that if the North/South Ministerial Council (NSMC) does not function as prescribed then the Assembly itself falls. This is the intended result of the UUP strategy.
- David Trimble's aims were set out in his letter of 26 October to Ulster Unionist Council delegates: i) Create a crisis; ii) Suspend the political institutions; iii) Blame republicans.
- David Trimble set out his six-point plan to achieve this at the Ulster Unionist Council meeting of 28 October: a) Disrupt the functioning of the NSMC as prescribed by the Agreement by vetoing the participation of Sinn Fein ministers ; b) Set deadlines for the IICD and usurp its independence; c) Threaten to withdraw form the all-Ireland dimensions of the Agreement if challenged on his breach of the Agreement by the two governments; d) Scupper the promise contained in the Good Friday Agreement for a new beginning to policing; e) Demand a formal review of the Good Friday Agreement if his demands are not met; f) Reconvene yet another meeting of the Ulster Unionist Council in January.
- Since 28 October, David Trimble has been in breach of his Pledge of Office and the Ministerial Code.
- There have been no sanctions taken by the two governments - and in particular by the British Government - with respect to Mr Trimble's action.
``It is time for the British Government to use their power to force David Trimble to change course. Otherwise. the result is clear to see. David Trimble must be moved from his current strategy onto one which is within the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. Only the governments - but particularly the British Government - have the power to achieve this.''
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