DUP East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson has addressed the Democratic Unionist’s North Down Association. In the course of his remarks, Mr. Wilson said,
“Through strong, strategic and determined leadership the DUP has been able to move Northern Ireland forward into relative stability. Whilst not everything is perfect, it should be noted that the Assembly is about to conclude its first full term of stable devolution in forty years. This is a massive achievement in itself.
Decisions about Northern Ireland are now being made by people from Northern Ireland. Direct Rule Ministers had no allegiance to Northern Ireland. They came in one or two days per week to implement strategies which may have worked in their English constituencies but were not the best approach for Northern Ireland. Local solutions are best delivered by local people.
Many forget that previous attempts to get devolution off the ground failed. In large part, this was due to weak leadership and rickety foundations. There was no united or strategic approach. Decisions were not taken on the basis of what was right but rather on the basis of what was expedient. That was a shambolic approach. The DUP ensured that devolution was restored on the solid foundation of democracy and support for the rule of law. This was the first step and we must now continue building a better and stronger government.
I recognise that Stormont can be slow and there’s too much bickering. But just look at the problems between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives and that’s a voluntary coalition. The DUP has always said this represented a fair deal but not a final destination. We have proposed major reforms of the institutions and at St Andrews we established the Assembly & Executive Review Committee to take these matters forward.
Only a strong united DUP team can negotiate the changes required at Stormont. Others are divided and without any workable or achievable strategy, whereas the DUP has realistic proposals which can normalise our structures of government.
We have too many departments, too many MLAs and too many QUANGOs. It is cumbersome and bloated. Not a good example to the private sector. Serious savings can be made by reforming the institutions but it goes much further than just savings, it would also help Stormont’s credibility in wider society. We can’t expect others to tighten their belts unless government it prepared to be an example of efficiency.
We need to keep Northern Ireland moving forward and that can be best achieved by a strong united DUP team working for Northern Ireland.”