Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs has warned that the future viability of the Assembly is waning after two senior DUP representatives appeared to admit they would be unable to resolve the current problems facing the Executive.
The East Antrim MLA said:
“Whilst I would not agree with the almost self-satisfied comments of Sammy Wilson that the latest changes to welfare ‘spell the end’ for the Assembly, there is no doubt that unless there is an urgent and drastic change in attitudes of some political parties the current Assembly has little prospect of continuing for much longer.
“The Assembly is facing three equally damaging impasses right now; the failure to implement the welfare package all five Parties agreed to last year, the failure to set budget for 2015/16 that actually adds up and a crippling lack of political or functional leadership amongst the two Parties at the top of the Executive.
“The institutions in Northern Ireland should be concentrating on providing first-rate public services, such as a safe and sustainable health service, but instead for the last number of years the focus has been increasingly shifting towards propping up the Assembly and covering-up endemic financial mismanagement.
“The decision of Sinn Fein to make a U-turn on welfare was only the latest example of that Party displaying a shocking lack of political or budgetary prowess. They are affectively bankrupting the Northern Ireland Executive as every day goes by as its spending money it does not have.
“The latest comments from Arlene Foster and Sammy Wilson indicate that the DUP appears to have given up on resolving the challenges facing the Assembly.
“Time is urgently running out for the Assembly. The Ulster Unionist Party wants to see it continue and its priorities overhauled, we want to see the welfare measures agreed at Stormont House to be implemented in order to stop the squandering of money we haven’t got and we want to see the joint First Ministers actually step up and show some leadership.”