Equality and power-sharing are no longer negotiable - Kearney
Sinn Féin National Chairperson and candidate for South Antrim, Declan Kearney, has said political unionism and the British and Irish governments need to understand that the fundamental principles of equality and power sharing are non-negotiable.
Writing in An Phoblacht, Mr Kearney said;
"Sinn Féin wants to put equality at the heart of the political process for all citizens. But the DUP and powerful agencies within the British state have never reconciled themselves to the outworking of power sharing and partnership.
"The DUP leader’s dehumanising description of republicans as ‘crocodiles’ and disrespect for the Irish language is a further stark illustration of that party’s mentality. It was an echo of David Trimble’s previous words when he alluded to Sinn Féin as dogs who needed to be ‘house trained’.
"The failure of the British and Irish governments to fulfil their international obligations under the GFA has contributed massively to the current crisis.
"The reality is that when political unionism believes it is not accountable, it reverts to the comfort zone of orange state politics.
"The British Conservative government has become increasingly pro-unionist and politically aligned with both the DUP and UUP, as evidenced in their shared positions on Brexit; promoting the single unionist narrative of the conflict; opposition to Irish language rights; and blocking any progress on dealing with the past.
"The British and Irish governments need to understand equality, parity of esteem and respect are no longer negotiable. That negotiation is over. It concluded in 1998 with the signing of the Good Friday Agreement; and yet 19 years later it has still not been fully implemented.
"Unless there is a qualitative step change in the political process and an end to political corruption; unless equality is firmly entrenched at the heart of the political process; there is no point in having the political institutions because they will have no value.
"The Sinn Féin position is clear – republicans, nationalists, the LGB&T communities, women, and ethnic minorities are not going to be pushed to the back of the bus again.”