14:47 GMT01 December 2020
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    John O’Dowd, an Assembly member for the Irish nationalist Sinn Fein party, said that the position of Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is unnecessary and it shoulb be abolished.

    EDINBURGH (Sputnik) — The role of the UK Secretary of State for Northern Ireland should be abolished and its powers transferred to the Northern Ireland Assembly, which is the province's devolved legislature, John O’Dowd, an Assembly member for the Irish nationalist Sinn Fein party, told Sputnik on Thursday.

    Earlier in the day, UK Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers announced that she had declined a proposal from new UK Prime Minister Theresa May to assume another role in the Cabinet and had left the government. James Brokenshire was confirmed as the next Northern Ireland Secretary.

    "The position of Secretary of State is unnecessary. It should be abolished and all remaining powers of the NIO [Northern Ireland Office] transferred to the Assembly," O’Dowd said.

    O’Dowd added that Villiers was part to the UK government that had "inflicted austerity, welfare cuts and now Brexit on the people of the North," adding that she played a negative role in dealing with the consequences of the the Anglo-Irish conflict in the region.

    "She also played a negative role in dealing with the legacy of the conflict, continually placing obstacles in the path of families seeking access to truth," he said.

    The UK cabinet was reshuffled following the resignation of former Prime Minister David Cameron and Wednesday's appointment of Theresa May as the new head of government.

    The 1968-1998 Anglo-Irish conflict, dubbed The Troubles, claimed more than 3,500 victims and left a further 47,500 people injured in what was one of the bloodiest counter-insurgencies fought in Europe since the end of World War II.


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