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British Government Policy towards the North must change - Kearney

28 September, 2017 - by Declan Kearney

 Sinn Féin National Chair and South Antrim MLA Declan Kearney today met with the British government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) secretary Michael Gove at Stormont House.

Speaking following the meeting, Mr Kearney said:

"This meeting was scheduled following the abandonment of an arranged meeting by the DEFRA environment secretary in July.

"I took this opportunity to impress upon Michael Gove the scale of the political crisis here, which has at its core the consequences of this Tory government's negative political and economic policies towards the North. That has now been exacerbated by the formal political alliance between the Tory government and the DUP.

"Having just attended a very visible expression of the desire for rights by Gaelscoileanna children and language rights activists, I made it clear that the Executive can only be established upon a rights and equality framework. That is what is required to ensure the political institutions can operate in the future on a sustainable and credible basis.

"That means ensuring the rights of all citizens are protected and enshrined be they Irish speakers, members of the LGB and T communities or ethnic minorities.

"The institutions can only deliver when they are financed appropriately. The latest pressures upon our public services arise directly from British Tory austerity.

"I told Michael Gove that his government's support for austerity and the imposition of Brexit will bring continued and significant economic and social hardship to our community here.

"I pointed out that the British Government's veto over maximum information disclosure and refusal to release the funding for legacy inquests is now the central block to dealing with the past. That alone is a shameful and indefensible position.

"British government policy towards the peace and political processes must change, and become focused upon implementation of the Good Friday Agreement."

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