Page last updated at 12:50 GMT, Saturday, 27 September 2008 13:50 UK

DUP face problem with partnership

Martin McGuinness
Mr McGuinness said the DUP refused to issue a joint statement

The deputy first minister has said there is no point in having an Executive meeting if it is a charade.

Martin McGuinness said the DUP were unable to come to terms with partnership government.

First Minister Peter Robinson has said it is imperative that the Executive should meet as planned on Thursday.

"I don't have to do anything to help the situation. I'm ready to go now. I want the Executive to meet, there is a lot of business for it to do," he said.

Speaking at a DUP function in Lisnaskea on Friday, Peter Robinson said he and his party were ready to work and that the Executive had been held hostage to Sinn Féin's demands on policing.

"What we need to do now is not to blockade the Executive but to use the agreed processes and seek to reach agreement, and build confidence in the community for this to take place," he said.

"There is one certainty - Sinn Féin's harmful obstruction of Executive business is eroding confidence not only in devolving new powers but in the devolution we have already achieved."

Talking to the BBC's Inside Politics programme on Saturday, Mr McGuinness accused Mr Robinson of failing the partnership test.

"Whenever the DUP come into government with Sinn Fein they should be under no illusions whatsoever," he said.

"If it is not on the basis of partnership then it isn't going to work."

Mr McGuinness also said the first minister had refused to issue a joint statement congratulating the Tyrone senior team on their All-Ireland win last weekend.

"We had the ludicrous situation during the summer where there was a proposition that a joint wreath would be laid by the first and deputy first ministers at the commemoration in Omagh and the DUP refused to participate in that," he said.

"These are important pointers to the difficulties the DUP face in coming to terms with the whole issue of engaging in a partnership government based on equality."

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