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Cameron not engaged with political process - Maskey

6 November, 2014 - by Paul Maskey


Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey has welcomed comments made by former British Secretary of State Peter Hain that the British Prime Minister David Cameron is not engaged with the political process in the north or Ireland. 

The West Belfast MP was speaking after he and party colleague Pat Doherty MP were in London for a serious of meetings with MPs, the media and trade union leaders.

Paul Maskey said:

“Peter Hain, in an interview in this week's Irish Post, raised strong concerns over the British government’s lack of focus and the serious impact this could have on the peace process. 

“His remarks followed similar concerns raised by former Labour Minister Lord Dubs, who urged progress on outstanding Good Friday Agreement issues.

“I welcome the comments by Peter Hain, who is correct to focus attention on the current problems in the political process. 

“For some time we have had a negative, anti-agreement unionist agenda, which represents a minority of opinion, dictating the pace of political progress.

“This has been facilitated by a British government which has been partisan and disengaged for some time. Alongside the Irish government, the British government are co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement and have a responsibility to ensure progress.

“Unfortunately, the current British government has allowed a de facto veto on progress by unionist parties. The British government needs to move away from its partisan approach and encourage unionism to seriously engage in the current talks.

“Our current round of meetings in London has revealed growing concerns that the current approach is untenable. There is also alarm about the dangers of playing ‘party politics’ in the run-up to the Westminster election. There can be no horse-trading in relation to the peace process or progressive change.

“We need a credible talks process. We need the governments to honour commitments made in the Good Friday and other agreements and we need to work collectively against Tory cuts to the Executive’s block grant.

“Sinn Féin is fully committed to this approach, and we urge all of those vast majority of people both in Ireland and in Britain, who support the Good Friday Agreement, to make their voices heard. We cannot allow an anti-agreement minority to dictate the pace of change.”

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