Robinson wants justice deal honoured

Tuesday 09 February 2010 19.56
Robinson & McGuinness - Addressed the Assembly on Hillsborough deal
Robinson & McGuinness - Addressed the Assembly on Hillsborough deal

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson has warned that he is prepared to collapse the Stormont Assembly if Sinn Féin does not honour the agreement on policing and parades.

However, Mr Robinson said he believes Sinn Féin are fully committed to the Hillsborough deal.

He said: 'I think everybody has recognised that there are methods available, particularly to the two main parties in this Assembly, which can be used at any and all times if they wish to bring down institutions to make sure that things don't work, to act as vetoes.'

Mr Robinson also described his own commitment to the political process despite recent problems in his personal life.

He said: 'I had plenty of drama in my life in recent months. I could have walked away very easily. I'm here because of a sense of duty.'

As both leaders addressed the Assembly on the deal this afternoon, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness insisted his party would not shirk its responsibilities.

Mr McGuinness said: 'It is much better to move forward in a positive vein than looking at the black side.

'I travel with hope and optimism, I look on the bright side and whenever this party makes commitments, we are absolutely dedicated to keeping those commitments.

'The Hillsborough agreement could be the most significant agreement made in recent years if, as the first minister says, we allow it to lead us onward and upwards.'

Group to examine NI parading

Mr Robinson and Mr McGuinness have appointed a working group to examine the issue of parades.

The move is in line with last week's agreement at Hillsborough Castle.

The working group is comprised of three DUP Assembly members and three from Sinn Féin.

The six Assembly members are Stephen Moutray, Nelson McCausland, Jeffrey Donaldson, Gerry Kelly, Michelle Gildernew and John O'Dowd. The first meeting of the group was held today.

Mr McCausland said the group had a challenging programme ahead but he believed they would be able to complete it. He said they would be talking to the loyal orders, bands, and parades forums.

Mr O'Dowd said the group would not be discussing individual parades. He said the intention of the report was that it would be turned into legislation to govern the parades issue.