Sinn Féin committed to establishment of Executive for all - O'Neill
Speaking during the opening session of the 2017 Sinn Féin Ard Fheis, party Leader in the North Michelle O'Neill MLA said Sinn Féin is committed to tackling sectarianism, building a just and fair society based on equality and respect and reiterated Sinn Féin's commitment to the restoration of an Executive at Stormont that delivers for everyone.
Michelle O'Neill said:
"A key challenge for us all is to confront sectarianism and the causes which segregate our communities still – 20 years on from the Good Friday Agreement.
"The DUP’s denial of rights for all citizens, and the failure to fully implement previous political agreements, the contempt shown for Irish national identity and culture combined with the RHI scandal to tip us into the ongoing political crisis.
"These rights include marriage equality, language rights, a bill of rights and the rights to an inquest in legacy cases.
"An Irish Language Act has both practical and symbolic importance in recognising and respecting Irish national identity."
Michelle O'Neill also repeated that Sinn Féin remain committed to the political institutions.
"Sinn Féin has invested hugely in the peace process and the political institutions for the benefit of everyone and we remain committed to making the institutions work.
"I want to lead Sinn Féin back into a new Executive, which represents genuine equal partnership Government.
"For over 10 months Sinn Féin has sought to resolve these issues through dialogue and political negotiations with the DUP and both Governments.
"However, despite our best endeavours the discussions were unsuccessful. In large part this was pre-determined by the Conservative party’s pact with the DUP to keep them in government.
"Sinn Féin remains committed to the restoration of the institutions and the Executive.
"However, they only have value if they enjoy the confidence and support of the people they were established to serve. For, as Martin McGuinness said, there is no going back to the status quo."
The Sinn Féin leader in the North also said Sinn Féin will continue to work to find a solution to the current political challenges.
"We in the Sinn Féin leadership will continue to play our part to make every effort to find a political solution to the political breakdown. These issues are not going away.
"If the DUP or anyone else wish to exercise political power in Government in the North of Ireland now or in the future, then the cost is to embrace a rights-based society and equal partnership government, which works for everyone. This would pave the way for the Executive to be restored.
"The people voted for the implementation of previous political agreements; they voted for the values of the Good Friday Agreement and they voted for a step change and no return to the status quo.
"That’s what I am about. That’s what Sinn Féin is about."