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ROBINSON - "MATURITY NEEDED NOT SOUND BITES" 

Commenting on the remarks made by the Northern Ireland Secretary of State in Dublin on Thursday and his subsequent radio interview on Friday morning First Minister Rt. Hon. Peter Robinson MLA said,

“Both the speech and the interview would give the impression that our Secretary of State is most comfortable when publicly attacking the Northern Ireland Executive and local politicians.
 
Such highly political comments are unfortunate given the significant progress that has been made across a range of policy areas this week.  Only a few days ago the deputy First Minister and I indicated that considerable progress has been made on the CSI strategy.  Indeed, we will be talking to party leaders and consulting the Executive with a view to finalising the document in September.  He should also have noted that his UUP friends want us to delay the decision further but I note the Secretary of State had no criticism for them.  I would have thought the Secretary of State should have been aware of such matters.
 
We would all like to see more progress on a number of issues, including reform of the government structures, but Mr Paterson knows full well that headline grabbing will do nothing to bring it about.  I have long argued for reformed structures but such fundamental changes will require maturity amongst all involved. 
 
I accept our five party coalition is far from perfect but Mr Paterson should also look at the two party coalition in Westminster which is stumbling from one crisis to the next.  Indeed, the Programme for Government agreed by the Liberals and the Conservatives lies in tatters.  Given such a backdrop it is a rich for Mr Paterson to lecture people in Northern Ireland about good government.
 
Many within Northern Ireland will consider the Secretary of State's comments as ill-advised when they look at the relative stability of the Northern Ireland Executive and compare it with the on-going open warfare in the Westminster coalition.
 
Mr Paterson has a growing track record of making partisan political points in an attempt to bolster his latest party political project in Northern Ireland.  I need hardly remind him that his recent local political alliances have all ended in failure having been completely rejected by the electorate.
 
I trust that in the future, this partisan Secretary of State will direct his energies to matters where he can assist Northern Ireland rather than squander his time seeking sound bites.”

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