02 April 2006

Hain power grab is 'undermining GFA'

Sunday Life

02 April 2006

NORTHERN Ireland Secretary Peter Hain has been accused of trying to hand himself powers which could undermine the Agreement.

Yesterday, SDLP leader Mark Durkan claimed there were plans for new legislation which would enable Mr Hain to change the way institutions under the Good Friday Agreement operated.

He told the Irish Labour Party's annual conference in Dublin: "Their proposals will involve new legislation.

"The British Government have some plans for that bill to include powers for the Secretary of State to alter aspects of the institutions and change working principles of the Agreement by Order-in-Council.

"The Good Friday Agreement is not the property of the British Government to chop and change at their own will or the whim of those opposed to it."

The two governments are expected to recall the Assembly in May to give it six weeks to form an executive. But if it proves impossible, new legislation is expected to park the Assembly through the marching season and recall Stormont in September with new rules.

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