Eastwood: The time to return to power sharing is now
Mr Eastwood commented:
“The death of Lyra McKee must be a turning point. We must listen to the public and act.
“There is a simple truth to be faced - politics here has failed. That truth means it is our responsibility as political leaders to fix it. We have been casual with our peace and we have forgotten our primary purpose.
“Today, the SDLP is proposing the suspension of the Petition of Concern mechanism for the remainder of this Assembly in order to legislate for rights and for all of our futures through the democratic mandate handed to us by the people of Northern Ireland. We are also proposing that while the temporary suspension takes place, a meaningful review of the POC is conducted with experts to find agreement on how to protect rights and stop any future abuse of the mechanism. The SDLP has the legislation ready to bring progress and equality - we can begin to enact it on the Assembly's very first day back.
“This proposal threatens no one. It is about creating the space to get parties back into Stormont to take decisions affecting all of our lives. It is clear there is an Assembly majority to resolve the outstanding issues if we remove the veto. We need to bring our people back together, we need to bring our government back together. This is a time for leadership, for courage and for compromise.”