A joint statement has been issued by Unionist party leaders Arlene Foster, Steve Aiken and Jim Allister on the Sinn Fein veto of a proposed centenary stone, calling it a ‘shameful exercise’.
The Joint statement reads: “In this important Centenary year for Northern Ireland we came together to put before the Assembly Commission a considered proposal for a centenary stone to permanently mark the event within the curtilage of Parliament Buildings.”
In a letter dated January 4, the three party leaders wrote to the Assembly Speaker – in his capacity as Chair of the Assembly Commission – setting out their ‘reasoned request’ along with what the party leaders called ‘non-controversial content of the suggested stone’.
The statement continues: “We are dismayed by the refusal of the Commission to permit this project, which would not have cost the public purse as our respective parties and MLAs were committed to funding it.
“The refusal arises from the shameful exercise of a veto by Sinn Fein. Yet, this is the party that talks most about respect for all communities, but when a modest proposal was made on behalf of the wider unionist community it was callously vetoed.
“Those we represent are left to ponder that if this is how we are treated in our own land, just how much more oppressive would our treatment be if we were ever so foolish as to consent to the ‘New Ireland’ that these same deniers of respect seek to promote.”