26 March 2006

SDLP 'trusts Ahern' on shadow Assembly plan

Sunday Life

Alan Murray
26 March 2006

THE SDLP trusts Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's judgment in proposing to temporarily restore the Stormont Assembly.

Senior party sources say that's the case despite their own reservations that Ian Paisley will attempt to taper the arrangements to fit his party's strategy.

Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair are expected to visit Belfast in a fortnight's time to outline proposals which would see the Assembly recalled for a six-week period before the summer with a further 14-week period of activity pencilled in for the autumn.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan said he was concerned that the two Governments would come "in low" and that the Assembly would remain "low" in what it could do.

But one senior SDLP official said that while there was concern within the party over what the two Governments might unveil on April 6, Bertie Ahern was trusted.

"We believe that the Taoiseach knows our concerns and knows what we don't want to see and we expect that he and Tony Blair will outline proposals that will see some real and meaningful engagement at Stormont that should lead to the creation of an Executive."

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