NI ministers deny reports of rift over powersharing

Tuesday 23 April 2013 14.11
First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness deny a developing rift over political powersharing in Northern Ireland
First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness deny a developing rift over political powersharing in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness have denied reports of a developing rift over political powersharing.

Mr McGuinness identified a lack of cohesion between unionist and republican ministers during the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis recently.

Mr Robinson has accused his coalition partners of being paralysed by nationalist critics over key pieces of Stormont legislation.

Mr McGuinness today admitted to occasional disagreements with the First Minister but said they resolved them.

"We are well-rounded individuals, we have the ability to sit down and have recent dialogue and discussions about things that we need to do," he said.

He said: "We have been very intensively involved in trying to get agreement on a range of discussions that will bring enormous benefit."

DUP leader Mr Robinson blamed the media for overplaying tensions and said nobody should be surprised that they occasionally had a different viewpoint.

"We come from very different political parties with different ideologies, different backgrounds, the remarkable thing is that we reach agreement on so many issues," he said during an event at the Titanic Belfast visitor's centre.

"The issue is not so much that we find something we disagree on, the issue is that we manage to resolve it."

He added: "This is a new era , people are living in a very different Northern Ireland than the one that Martin and I grew up in, we have a massive potential for the future and we are absolutely determined that we are going to lead this country through to peace and stability."

The parties have held talks on disputes over issues like welfare reform and the ministerial executive's draft shared future policy.

This month DUP Health Minister Edwin Poots said relations between the two parties were at their most strained since power-sharing began, accusing Sinn Féin of sending out mixed messages on dissidents, while frustrating executive business.