Ulster Unionist Leader, Mike Nesbitt MLA, has stated that it is very clear that Sinn Fein and the DUP have agreed a no-first strike pact after they united to vote to ignore the international reputational damage being done to Northern Ireland by the NAMA scandal.
Mr Nesbitt said:
“Today was significant for the Northern Ireland Assembly – the first Opposition Day. It is different from the Opposition that we had in the 1960s and 1970s because for the first time, you have parties of official Opposition that are entirely committed to making these institutions work. You also have the real prospect of the development of a coherent, cross-community opposition.
“The response from the DUP to today`s first Opposition debate about NAMA was a clear demonstration of the ostrich politics at play at the core of the Sinn Fein/DUP coalition and further undermines public perception of politics in Northern Ireland. It is nearly three weeks since the BBC Spotlight programme was broadcast containing the latest allegations and the Assembly is still waiting to hear a clear statement from the First Ministers to restore public confidence in the institutions. That needs to be addressed.
“During the course of today`s debate it became clear that the DUP are in denial about NAMA. Instead of focussing on the issues at hand and the international reputational damage being done to our country by friends of the DUP allegedly handing over bags of cash in a hospital car park, Mrs Little-Pengelly tried to deflect and twist her way out of debating the issues in the Assembly. The investigation underway by the National Crime Agency is one we support, but it is just that, a police investigation, not a convenient excuse for politicians to ignore the scandal.
“It was very clear that the DUP and Sinn Fein have now agreed a no-first strike pact with one another. The cost will be paid by the people, as together the DUP/Sinn Fein coalition government voted against our call for the First Ministers to respect the authority of the Assembly and talk to us about the NAMA scandal, as well as voting to ignore the international damage being done to our reputation as somewhere to do business.
"It certainly looks like Sinn Fein and the DUP are firmly tied to the mantra of ‘the party comes first’. That will be to the detriment of Northern Ireland and its people.”