Sinn Féin national chairperson Declan Kearney MLA has said an unconditional return to power-sharing Assembly and Executive is the only rational decision for the DUP as the deepening economic crisis continues to decimate public services.
Writing for An Phoblacht today, Declan Kearney said:
“An endemic crisis is now consuming regional public finances in the north of Ireland. It is being driven by growing inflationary pressures, a deficit of hundreds of millions in public spending capacity, and the savage budget recently introduced by the Tory government.
“The continued absence of the power sharing Executive and Assembly due to the DUP’s senseless blocking of the political institutions means that departmental officials are being forced to plan cuts in public expenditure, more extreme than anything during the depths of the Tory imposed 2010 austerity programme.
“It is widely recognised that the scale of reductions in public expenditure currently allocated to the north by the British exchequer will have a devastating effect on regional public services, and especially for the most vulnerable in society.”
Declan Kearney writes that the impact on public services and workers and families will only deepen unless there is an Executive and financial investment in place by the Autumn.
“Public services are already failing to meet the basic needs of citizens. The Tory government knows this to be true. So with the next budget cycle due to commence in October, unless an Executive and financial investment package are in place by September another Tory austerity budget will become inevitable with even more shocking consequences.
“Last week while engaging with local people in a small neighbourhood in my South Antrim constituency the perfect storm of challenges impacting on workers and families was laid bare repeatedly.
“A young mother now unemployed because the Engage Programme has ended: another mother trying to locate community-based autism support services: parents whose adult son with complex special needs had lost his access to a social worker and lifeline care package: a male nurse with decades of service in the NHS whose net take home pay is less today than seven years ago: the family in distress because their daughter with special educational needs has still not been allocated a place in a special school setting for the new school year: Other neighbours were seething with anger at the intransigence of the DUP and cruelty of the Tories.”
The Sinn Féin National Chairperson called on the DUP to return unconditionally to the Executive in the face of the current challenges. He said:
“The behaviour of the DUP is failing workers, families and small businesses. The public services upon which our community relies are being dismantled in plain sight. Everyone is being affected regardless of background.
“The DUP leader knows there is no more to be negotiated between the British government and European Commission. It is a fact that his party’s blocking of the political institutions is deepening the crisis for public finances and public services.
“The cost of living emergency and public finances crisis presents a decisive crossroads for the DUP. The party leadership position is untenable. In these circumstances an unconditional return to power sharing is the only rational decision to make.
“Failing to do so would represent another catastrophic miscalculation, matched only by the DUP’s support for Brexit – and look how that has turned out.”