Ulster Unionists in Mid-Ulster have backed the Party Leader, Mike Nesbitt’s recommendation to withdraw from the Stormont Executive.
At a meeting of the Ulster Unionist Assembly Group on Wednesday and subsequently at Saturday evening’s meeting of the Ulster Unionist Executive Committee the decision was unanimous to support the Party Leader’s recommendation.
The Mid-Ulster Assembly Member, Sandra Overend, said: “The Ulster Unionist Party has always led from the front in representing the people of Northern Ireland and I support whole-heartedly this proposal from our Party Leader.
“There is no more room for Sinn Fein to make denials and there must be added pressure placed upon them, no matter how much they squirm, to come clean.
“I have been actively involved in politics within the Ulster Unionist Party since before the Belfast Agreement and I fully recognise the huge sacrifices that have been made in pressing toward a new devolved institution with sharing arrangements for everyone in Northern Ireland.
“I have always referenced back to the 1998 Belfast Agreement when it talked about the opportunity to build trust, trust between nationalists and unionists within a democratic system that would encourage cooperation and mutual respect.
If they really are committed to improving the lives of everyone in Northern Ireland, as their Deputy First Minister so eloquently trots out to foreign dignitaries and on many occasions, then it’s time he followed through.
“Having been very closely involved through the early years of the NI Assembly, I remember well the difficulties that were faced by the Ulster Unionist Party in working with those who in the past preferred to used terrorism to achieve their end-goal, and in giving them a chance to build up a level of trust with the belief that those days were in the past.
“We played our part in cooperating, building a devolved administration and promoting a shared future.
“And we continue to share that same ideal of a shared future for Northern Ireland, with respect for one another’s different religions and cultural traditions: that is a Northern Ireland that I want for everyone in this region of the United Kingdom.
“But the events of recent weeks, including the murder of Kevin McGuigan, the announcement from the Chief Constable that the Provisional IRA still exists with a command structure at senior level who in cooperation with Action Against Drugs carried out that murder, have been the final blow to our ability to trust Sinn Fein any longer.
“The Northern Ireland Assembly has been limping from one crisis to another, with political game-playing and point scoring so much that anyone could question its ability to deliver for the people of Northern Ireland in its current state.
“It is time for Sinn Fein to come clean. We’ve heard enough denials from Sinn Fein. If they really are committed to improving the lives of everyone in Northern Ireland, as their Deputy First Minister so eloquently trots out to foreign dignitaries and on many occasions, then it’s time he followed through.”
The leader of the Ulster Unionist Councillors Group in Mid-Ulster Council, Councillor Trevor Wilson, who is also Chairperson of the Ulster Unionist Councillors Association, added,
“I am very pleased that the Executive Committee of the Ulster Unionist Party has fully endorsed the Party Leader’s recommendation which has my total support.
“The Ulster Unionist Party’s commitment to the people of Northern Ireland is unwavering and by moving out of the Executive and into opposition, as is part of any normal democratic structure, we will continue to do what’s best for the people of Northern Ireland. This is a good decision, one that should put the pressure where it really needs to be: on Sinn Fein who are currently failing the Northern Ireland people.”