Partitionist mind-set of southern political establishment obvious during GFA debate – Deputy Jonathan O’Brien
Cork North Central Sinn Féin Deputy Jonathan O’Brien has said that the partitionist mind-set of the political establishment in the 26 counties has continually undermined the progress that had been made in the Six Counties since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.
Deputy O’Brien was speaking ahead of a Sinn Féin PMB which is before the Dáil this week and marks the 15th anniversary of the signing of the Agreement. He was especially scathing in his criticism of Waterford FG Deputy John Deasy whose contribution to the debate on Tuesday he described as “ill-informed and ignorant”
He continued: “Sinn Féin is rightly very proud of the pivotal role it has played, along with others, in forging this agreement and making it work.
“Our track record in the Assembly is there for all to see and we have shown, on countless occasions, a willingness to make the hard but fair decisions that are taken for the betterment of citizens from all traditions in the 6 Counties.
“It is a track record that makes a mockery of some of the condescending comments we hear all too often from government and FF spokespeople, who without even a touch of irony claim Sinn Féin is unfit for government here in the South.
“In a crass example of this partisionist mind-set, when he spoke last night during the PMB debate, Deputy John Deasy made a speech that was punctuated with ill-informed and ignorant comments that are a discredit to him and his party.
“His assertion that for the last 15 years Sinn Féin had no interest in substantive engagement with others on the implementation of the GFA is both laughable and is ironic particularly considering he’d probably get a nose bleed if he even crossed the border.
“Deputy Deasy’s contribution reflects an all too familiar partisionist mentality of many within the Dáil who see an Irish Republic as a 26 County political entity rather than the 32 County Socialist Republic that was declared in 1916.
“The relative peace that the North has enjoyed since the signing of the GFA should not to be taken for granted, yet far too often this government pays lip service in supporting the Executive. Despite this, the GFA has paved the way for the establishment of a far more equitable and reflective political system that empowers the elected representatives from both traditions in the six counties so they have a meaningful role in the future direction of their communities.
“The present government, as well as their FF predecessors, could learn much from what has been achieved in the North during a very short period of time.”