Cameron seeks end to ‘shared-out Stormont’
Cameron seeks end to ‘shared-out Stormont’

British Prime Minister David Cameron has outlined his vision for the future of the Six Counties, urging the North’s politicians to “move beyond” the question of British rule in Ireland, and instead focus on “the economic and social issues that affect people in their daily lives”.

On Thursday, Cameron addressed the devolved Stormont assembly after being welcomed to Belfast by the North’s First and Deputy First Ministers.

He offered Assembly members a greatly simplified view of the problems in the North. “You have two unique challenges - the legacy of violence and a land border with a state that has significantly lower corporate taxes,” he said.

He said that the rate of corporation tax in the North could be significantly reduced to compete with that in the 26 Counties, but at the same time warned that a failure to improve the standard of living could lead to a loss of support for the Six-County institutions.

“As in other parts of the UK, political institutions need to deliver or they will lose popular support,” he declared.

He also criticised the continuing cost to the British exchequer of maintaining the Six-County statelet, and estimated sectarianism alone costs the British taxpayer some 1.5 billion pounds sterling. He noted what he said was the “depressing fact” that the number of so-called ‘peace walls’ between conflicted communities in Belfast and Derry has increased from 37 to 48, and said more needed to be done to address “division”.

While emphasising his unionist credentials, he told the Assembly members that London “will support you in whatever ways we can”. But he also recalled the famous “spongers” speech of former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson when he declared “Northern Ireland needs a genuinely shared future; not a shared-out future.”

Earlier First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness had detailed their desire to make continued “progress” but said Mr Cameron also had obligations which he had to live up to. Mr McGuinness referred to unfulfilled promises by London to invest in the North’s infrastructure.

“From my perspective, even though people do say things publicly, in the privacy of the meeting whenever I challenged David Cameron on the issue of the agreement we had with (former British Prime Minister) Gordon Brown and the previous administration in relation to the 18 billion pounds (in promised funding) up until 2017, he did say that they would stand over that and that he would keep his promise,” the deputy first minister said.


Eirigi’s Breandan Mac Cionnaith described the visit as “nothing more than a propaganda stunt for his government’s anti-social agenda and the program of pacifying the North.

“That he addressed an assembly of pliant local politicians is indicative of the fact that the Stormont administration is completely wedded to the Tory government’s anti-social economic agenda and is willing to act as its Irish enforcer.”

Mac Cionnaith continued: “The reality is that the Six County state remains an economic and political slum.

“There are more than 100,000 people on dole queues, while wages and living standards lag way behind those in Britain. Meanwhile, republican prisoners are being forced onto a no-wash protest and the British secretary of state is happily signing orders to detain innocent people indefinitely.

“Not a single politician will today have the courage or the integrity to challenge David Cameron about any of these injustices. Instead, they will take part in the charade that everything in this rotten statelet is fine and dandy and act accordingly.”

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© 2011 Irish Republican News