Page last updated at 12:25 GMT, Tuesday, 26 August 2008 13:25 UK

Stormont must meet warns Robinson

Peter Robinson
Peter Robinson said the next executive meeting must go ahead

DUP leader Peter Robinson has warned of "serious consequences" if the next meeting of the Stormont Executive does not go ahead in mid-September.

It follows a leading Sinn Féin member's words at the weekend that the party may pull out of the executive.

Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin warned his party would collapse the assembly unless there was progress on the devolution of policing and justice.

But First Minister Mr Robinson said the 18 September meeting must go ahead.

The row over the devolution of justice has been behind the failure of ministers to hold any executive meetings over the summer.

Mr Robinson said: "We have a legal responsibility, under our pledge of office, to support the good governance of NI.

"The executive meetings should be called, there have been important issues raised that should have been dealt with at the executive and, very clearly, we have a meeting scheduled for 18 September.

Caoimhghin O Caolain
Caoimhghin O Caolain said his party's patience should not be tested.

"If that were not to take place, there would be very serious consequences, not only for the good governance of Northern Ireland but for those who would stop Northern Ireland being governed properly."

The DUP leader claimed Sinn Fein behaviour had damaged confidence and would hinder progress on devolving justice.

He told the party to show leadership rather than look over its shoulder at dissident republicans.

Sinn Féin's Alex Maskey said both his party and the DUP need to sit down together to discuss the issue of policing and justice.

"There's no question about threats or anything of this nature, the DUP are very well aware of Sinn Féin's position on all of these matters," he said.

"What we need to do is to sit down, have the kind of discussions that are required, and let's take decisions."

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