Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister:
“Additional funding for Northern Ireland is of course welcome and underscores the financial advantages of being part of the United Kingdom. I am mindful, however, that a few years ago we were all told that £800 million of new money had been secured before the devolution of policing and justice. It turned out to be smoke and mirrors.
“It is disappointing that this unique opportunity to reform Stormont has been squandered. The DUP has for years claimed it is opposed to the Belfast Agreement system of government. If so, then, it had a once in a lifetime opportunity to force the replacement of unworkable mandatory coalition with provisions allowing a coalition of the willing. By democratising devolution they could have ensured that voters in Northern Ireland have the same rights as those in other parts of the UK – the right to change their government and vote a party out of government. It would have ensured that no party could bring the government down by walking away, like Sinn Fein/IRA did before Christmas.
“The fact the DUP didn’t even try confirms their satisfaction with failed Belfast Agreement devolution. Now, they are in the business again of paying the Sinn Fein price on an Irish Language Act etc to get back their government limos.
“The commitment to extend the Armed Forces Covenant to Northern Ireland is welcome but there are other important changes which are needed which are not mentioned. Chief among these is the absence of any mention of a change in the obscene definition of victim which equates innocent victims with perpetrators. Unionists should also be demanding the immediate removal of allowances to Sinn Fein MPs who claim expenses and have offices but don’t do their job. Again, this is not mentioned which is deeply disappointing.”