10/01/2018

Secretary Of State Committed To Restoring Devolution In NI

The new Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has said she is committed to restoring devolution in NI, during her first official visit.

Mrs Karen Bradley also said she was "delighted to be in Belfast".

In a statement she said: "My immediate challenge and key objective is to ensure that Northern Ireland has a devolved government in place in order to address the issues that affect everyone's lives, including health, education and the economy. I'm also conscious of the need to deliver a Brexit that works for Northern Ireland and to ensure everyone is safe and secure.

"It is fitting my first visit should be to Titanic Quarter, which reflects both Belfast and Northern Ireland's past and its future. Once one of the world's leading industrial cities and now one of the world's largest urban-waterfront regeneration schemes.

"And I understand the importance of dealing with the past and securing a safe and prosperous future. My aim is to work collaboratively to find solutions to these issues acceptable to everyone.
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"I have spoken to all the main party leaders. While there will be many challenges in the coming weeks – which all parties will need to rise to – I will do all that I can to ensure that we find a way to restore devolution to Northern Ireland."

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MLA met with Mrs Bradley and discussed a constructive way forward.

He said: "There is no time left to go through the same failed process between two parties and cross our fingers, hoping things will be different. Nowhere is the urgency more clear cut than in our hospitals and schools where frontline staff, patients, parents and pupils are enduring the brunt of the pain because of a failure of politics. That must be a basis for dialogue.

"The DUP and Sinn Féin can no longer abdicate their responsibility and they can no longer be allowed to veto dialogue between all parties. The process of disempowering people, on Brexit, on our health service, on schools and on public services, that has taken place over the last twelve months must come to an end."

(CD/JP)

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