12 November 2005

Durkan to accuse SF and Democratic Unionists


12/11/2005 - 11:11:22

Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionists were today expected to be accused of carving up the peace process in the North to serve their own interests.

Sources close to nationalist SDLP leader Mark Durkan said he would launch a hard-hitting attack on Gerry Adams and the Rev Ian Paisley in his speech to delegates at the party’s annual conference in Belfast.

The attack will follow claims by SDLP deputy leader Dr Alasdair McDonnell last night that Sinn Féin’s approach to the peace process was reminiscent of the George Orwell novel, 1984.

The South Belfast MP told SDLP members: “In George Orwell’s often-quoted novel 1984, he includes an appendix on the principles of Newspeak – a language based on English and promoted by the ruling Party to subvert debate and individual thought.

“Under the Newspeak regime, words look like English and sound like English but don’t mean what the untrained eye expects them to mean. Sound familiar?

“What a great coincidence that we see the Provisional Movement unwittingly adapt another of Orwell’s messages as their rallying cry: ’Building an Ireland of Equals’ where, as we know, they think that they and they alone are more equal than everyone else on the island.

“But, I like you decided long ago that I would not allow my politics and values to be hijacked, twisted or determined by the Provos or anyone else for that matter.

“These phrases – Prosperity, Equality, Respect for Diversity and United Ireland – still mean much to me and still form the background and the backbone of this party’s politics and values.”

Dr McDonnell also queried Sinn Féin’s economic policy including its opposition to the euro.

He claimed the Economist Intelligence Unit had said if Sinn Féin got into power in the Irish Republic, it would cause the country uncertainty and instability.

He also rounded on the DUP and the Ulster Unionists over their response to rioting which erupted in loyalist districts of Belfast in September when a Protestant Orange Order march was rerouted from a contentious area in the west of the city.

The SDLP deputy leader said: “The DUP makes great noises about being the Party that will cut red tape and encourage business, yet excuses and justifies loyalist protests that bring the whole country to a standstill and make a mockery of our work to promote Northern Ireland to inward investment opportunities.

“What about the Ulster Unionist Party, which once prided itself as the party of business?

“Its leader, Reg Empey, whom I once worked with on a range of economic development issues here in Belfast, and who was once a very competent Minister of Enterprise, gets elected as leader and announces that parades, not prosperity need to be at the top of our political agenda.

“We saw what parades do for prosperity on September 10 when Belfast was shut down and so much was burned down.”

Conference delegates were also due to hear today from the vice chairman of Northern Ireland’s Policing Board Denis Bradley during a debate on policing.

In September Mr Bradley was savagely beaten in a bar in Derry in an attack blamed on dissident republicans.

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