ROBINSON WANTED NORTH-SOUTH MONEY DIVERTED TO ‘RESTLESS’ LOYALISTS, CLAIMS SDLP MP

Former SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie

SOUTH Down MP Margaret Ritchie has claimed First Minister Peter Robinson wanted money diverted to loyalist community projects because loyalist paramilitaries were “getting restless”.

Using House of Commons privilege, the former SDLP leader claimed he wanted the money moved from North-South fundings.

She made the claims as MPs debated a motion about security in Northern Ireland after the murder of prison officer David Black.

Ms Ritchie said all parties were united against terror but she said Sinn Fein and the DUP could “do more”.

She said Sinn Fein must do more to “provide every shred of information they have, whether recent or from the recesses of their memories, to the police”.

She then turned her sights on the DUP, saying: “The DUP leader, first minister of Northern Ireland and former member of this house, only recently complained to the Irish government that funding going into worthwhile North-South infrastructure projects should instead go to community projects for loyalists – because loyalist paramilitaries were getting restless and increasingly of a disposition to strike out.”

The SDLP MP told the House of Commons that was “not good enough”.

However, her remarks were immediately challenged by DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds who branded them as “ridiculous”.

The North Belfast MP and other party colleagues were sitting behind the Ms Ritchie in the chamber asked her to provide evidence.

Ms Ritchie simply told MPs there was evidence but did not go into any detail.

 

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