Irish and British Governments in default of Good Friday Agreement- Mary Lou McDonald TD
Speaking today on the political impasse in the North, Sinn Fein Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD said:
“The political process in the North now faces its greatest threat since the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998.
“Sinn Féin has lived up to all its commitments and sought to promote reconciliation, inclusion and equality. We have worked with other parties and the institutions in good faith. Sinn Féin is committed to power sharing government.
“However the agenda of political unionism is now being driven by an anti-Agreement axis. The process and principles of change, set out in the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent agreements, are being systematically undermined as a result of the unionist political leadership’s unwillingness to embrace power sharing. This is an unsustainable political situation.
“Responsibility for guaranteeing and implementing the Good Friday Agreement rests with the Irish and British governments. This is enshrined under the Validation, Implementation and Review Section of the Good Friday Agreement Section 7, which states:
‘If difficulties arise which require remedial action across the range of institutions, or otherwise require amendment of the British-Irish Agreement or relevant legislation, the process of review will fall to the two Governments in consultation with the parties in the Assembly. Each Government will be responsible for action in its own jurisdiction.’
“Each Government is now in default of their co equal responsibilities and obligations.
“This British Government has assumed an explicitly partisan and pro unionist party stance, reminiscent of the John Major’s Governments’ Irish policy in the 1990’s.
“As a result, the current deep political impasse contains all the potential to develop into a serious political crisis for the political institutions in the North, which are already negatively challenged by the swingeing cuts to jobs and public services being imposed upon the northern Executive by the conservative Government in London.
“In order to avoid a further deterioration in the political situation the Irish Government should act on its rights and responsibility under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, and take an urgent initiative to ensure that all-party talks are immediately convened and with the direct involvement of the Irish, British and US Governments.”