Bríd Rodgers hits out at DUP acting first minister

Posted By: September 12, 2015

John Manley. Irish News ( Belfast). Saturday, September 12, 2015

Former agriculture minister Brid Rodgers 

A former SDLP minister last night claimed the “mask had slipped” after the DUP’s Arlene Foster said she was remaining in the executive to make sure nationalists do not damage the unionist community.

Bríd Rodgers described the new interim first minister’s remarks about “rogue” Sinn Féin or SDLP ministers as “utterly disgraceful”.

Mrs Foster, the DUP’s only remaining Stormont minister after her colleagues withdrew on Thursday, said she would be a “gatekeeper” to ensure “Sinn Féin and the SDLP ministers don’t take actions that will damage Northern Ireland and principally, let’s be honest, that damage the unionist community”.

Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly branded the remarks a “throwback” to the past and claimed Mrs Foster had displayed a “very bigoted view of what the institutions are about”.

Ms Rodgers described the comments as “extremely insulting to the whole nationalist community”.

“What does it say about her view of the people unionists are supposed to be sharing power with? It was clear her mask had slipped,” she said.

Yesterday Mrs Foster defended her comments, saying Sinn Féin had previously been guilty of sectarian bias while in office.

The row came as DUP leader Peter Robinson revealed that ministers who have quit the executive are to be renominated next week – but will resign again immediately, in an attempt to keep the posts from nationalists. Unless a minister is renominated within seven days the position is normally reallocated to another party.

Mr Robinson said he aims to ensure the administration is unable to function properly until the political crisis sparked by claims of IRA involvement in the murder of Kevin McGuigan in resolved.