15 April 2006

Dirty deal on cards, says SDLP

Belfast Telegraph

By Noel McAdam
15 April 2006

Secretary of State Peter Hain has been accused of attempting to implement the 'dirty deal' involving the DUP and Sinn Fein which collapsed in December 2004.

The SDLP claimed Mr Hain intends to take 'vice-regal powers' under new legislation due after Easter to underpin the recalled Stormont Assembly.

Senior SDLP negotiator Sean Farren said Mr Hain did not vote for the Good Friday Agreement and had no right to change it.

Ahead of expected consultations with the parties next week, Mr Farren warned: "He wants to take vice-regal powers to make changes to the Agreement's structures to implement the dirty deal done by Sinn Fein and the DUP in 2004."

The North Antrim Assembly man said Sinn Fein must make clear it rejects the 'flawed', so-called Comprehensive Agreement which was made public by the two Governments.

"It is there that they first agreed to a shadow Assembly with the DUP. We are still living to this day with the consequences of that flawed negotiation.

"That failed deal gave the DUP vetoes over what nationalists could be and what they could decide.

"It threatened and hindered the North South agenda and threatened the SDLP with a new form of automatic exclusion.

"The failed Comprehensive Agreement should be left to fade away instead of being pushed again now by the Secretary Of State. That is our clear message to him today."

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