West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

SDLP allows passing of hardline unionist 'SPAD Bill' aimed at republican ex-prisoners

Published: 5 June, 2013

THE SDLP has allowed the passing of the controversial Bill barring ex-prisoners sentenced to five years or more during the conflict from becoming special advisers to ministers at the power-sharing Executive at Stormont even though its leader described the legislation as "flawed". SDLP MLAs incredibly refused to support a Petition of Concern by Sinn Féin that would have blocked the Bill.

West Tyrone Sinn Féin MLA Michaela Boyle has accused the SDLP of being led by the rejectionist unionist Jim Allister away from the Good Agreement and onto the ground of discrimination and inequality.

Mrs Boyle said:

"The SDLP have sold out the Good Friday Agreement and the principles which underpin it. This legislation is discriminatory, sectarian and anti-Peace Process. It has set victim against victim as it has attempted to reinforce the hierarchy of victims that republicans and nationalists are all too well aware of. It is bad and flawed law.

"The clear message from the SDLP is that those who suffered at the hands of the British State are at the bottom of Alastair McDonnell's pecking order of victims. On the day of the vote his party refused to meet victims of State violence and Strabane SDLP are still avoiding a meeting with Cairde. That position says it all.

"Sinn Féin will continue to oppose discrimination in employment and in every other aspect of the operation of government. We will never accept discrimination and inequality."