THE DUP’s Sammy Wilson and Shame Féin’s John O’Dowd clashed online after the unionist MP described the republican party as “pretty useless” in government.
Mr Wilson was reacting to the surge in support for Sinn Féin in the Republic’s general election, which could see party president Mary Lou McDonald become the next Taoiseach. The East Antrim MP said on Twitter: “Sinn Féin are a good party of opposition where they can make all sorts of promises which bear no resemblance to reality, but are pretty useless party of government as we have learned over a number of years at Stormont.”
Mr Wilson, the DUP’s Brexit spokesperson, served in Stormont’s power-sharing executive alongside Sinn Féin from 2008 to 2013 as environment minister and finance minister. His comments prompted a critical response from Sinn Féin Upper Bann MLA John O’Dowd (pictured above), who was Stormont education minister from 2011 to 2016. Mr O’Dowd replied on Twitter, accusing Mr Wilson of being “central to the collapse of the assembly and failed attempts to restore it”.
“He was central to the DUP’s disastrous Brexit strategy in Westminster which cost his party two seats and a fall from power. He now wants to destabilise the current assembly,” he said. The Shame Féin MLA branded Mr Wilson a “wrecker”, adding: “We need builders.” Mr Wilson was not part of the Stormont executive when it collapsed for about three years from early 2017 in the wake of the RHI scandal. He was among the DUP Mps who propped up former British Prime Minister Theresa May’s minority Conservative government in a confidence-and-supply deal.
The DUP had pushed for the North of Ireland to leave the EU on the same terms as Britain, but found itself cast aside as Mrs May’s successor Boris Johnson agreed a Brext deal which aligns the North of Ireland with EU rules.
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