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13 November 2017

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Stormont Budget move in Westminster – Sinn Féin calls for urgent meetings with Taoiseach and British Prime Minister

‘Sinn Féin were flexible. We were willing to stretch ourselves to achieve a breakthrough and we were right to do so’


THE tabling of a Budget for Stormont public services in the Westminster Parliament by Secretary of State James Brokenshire on Monday is an acknowledgement by the British Government that agreement has not been possible between the parties following the resignation of Martin McGuinness in January, Sinn Féin said at a press conference.

Michelle O’Neill, the Sinn Féin leader in the North, has called for urgent meetings with both the Taoiseach and the British Prime Minister.

“The way forward now is for the two governments to fulfill their responsibility as co-guarantors of the Good Friday and St Andrews Agreements, to honour outstanding commitments, and to deliver rights enjoyed by everyone else on these islands to people here,” the Mid Ulster MLA said.

“This would pave the way for the Executive to be restored.”

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9 January 2017: Martin McGuinness resigns as deputy First Minister over ‘DUP arrogance’

She said the reason for the end of trust and the power-sharing government at Stormont is the DUP’s opposition to a rights-based society.

“While some progress was made [in talks], the denial of rights would not be tolerated in Dublin and London and should not be tolerated here.

“We met the DUP this morning and told them this.

“Since March of this year Sinn Féin has been seeking agreement on the implementation of outstanding commitments as a basis for restoring public trust and confidence in the institutions.

“Sinn Féin were flexible. We were willing to stretch ourselves to achieve a breakthrough and we were right to do so.

“The DUP’s resistance to the implementation of previous agreements and particularly rights available everywhere else in these islands means that there is not a locally-elected Executive to take decisions.

“The British Government has been complicit in this, backing the DUP’s refusal to honour the commitments previously made and blocking the delivery of equality.”

2017 Stormont MON & GA group

She said that Theresa May has prioritised her own electoral survival via the Tory/DUP pact over the interests of all of the people in the North.

“This is compounded by the DUP’s refusal to accept the vote in the North to reject Brexit. The DUP are committed to the North being dragged out of the EU against the will and the interests of people here.”

She said Sinn Féin told the British PM last Friday that direct rule is not an option.

“In the absence of the Assembly and Executive, the choice for both governments is between the protection of the Good Friday Agreement or its abandonment.

“These issues aren’t going away.

“It is now the responsibility of the two governments to look to the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement and for a British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference to meet as soon as possible.

“We have sought urgent meetings with both the Taoiseach and the British Prime Minister. The way forward now is for the two governments to fulfill their responsibility as co-guarantors of the Good Friday and St Andrews Agreements, to honour outstanding commitments, and to deliver rights enjoyed by everyone else on these islands to people here.

“This would pave the way for the Executive to be restored.”

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