“For the SDLP to now claim they do not agree with the Programme for Government process is dishonest given that they were part of developing it.
“The new PfG has not been plucked out of thin air. It has involved extensive consultation with political parties in the Executive, including the SDLP, dating back to last December.
“The SDLP were involved in this process every step of the way. At no stage during it did they raise any objections, concerns or, more importantly, alternatives to this planned approach.
“The SDLP attended four workshops on the development of the new PfG from December to February.
“These workshops clearly set out the objectives for May, and a further later phase setting out specific actions to be taken.
“You would have to question why at this stage - and because of the SDLP involvement from the outset - they now say the framework they were fully involved in lacks ambition.
“Either the SDLP had no intention of joining the new Executive and are playing to the gallery and the media.
“Or, they failed to grasp the new approach to government and are not up for the challenges ahead.
“Or, in an act of desperation inspired by their poor election result, they are now preparing to slavishly follow the Ulster Unionist Party out of government.
“We are committed to putting together the best possible PfG that will create more and better jobs and investment in our health service, our schools and support for the most vulnerable in society.”
Notes to editors:
Media enquiries to The Executive Office press office on 028 9037 8201. Out of office hours, please contact the duty press office via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.
- Anholt–GfK Roper Nation Brands Index (SM): 2017 report for Northern Ireland published 20 February 2018
- Last call for applications to 2018/19 Good Relations funding programmes 20 February 2018
- Labour Force Survey Religion Report 2016 31 January 2018
- The Holocaust reminds us of the power of words 25 January 2018