'Foster speech fails to provide any breakthrough’ - Ó Muilleoir
A keynote address by former First Minister Arlene Foster has failed to provide any indication that the DUP is prepared to end its blockage of the power-sharing institutions, Sinn Féin MLA Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has said.
Describing her speech to a Policy Exchange event in London as a ‘missed opportunity’, the South Belfast MLA said Arlene Foster had produced ‘no new thinking but more of the same old arrogance’.
Máirtín Ó Muelloir added: “Unfortunately, this much-trumpeted speech from Arlene Foster has failed to provide any indication that the DUP is prepared to end its blockage of the power-sharing institutions.
“In her speech, Arlene Foster accused nationalism of being ‘narrow and exclusive’ while lauding unionism as standing for ‘pluralism and multi-culturalism’.
“Quite apart from the arrogance of dismissing the entire nationalist population in this way, Arlene Foster’s comments quite simply don’t stack up to the reality.
“Where is the multi-culturalism for Gaelic speakers who are still being denied equal language rights by the DUP?
“Where is the pluralism for the members of our LGBT community who are still being denied marriage equality by the DUP?
“The DUP collapsed the talks process and reneged on the draft agreement they had negotiated with Sinn Féin rather than agree to the introduction of such basic rights so I fail to see how Arlene Foster intends to rebuild relationships while maintaining that position.
“Her position is also staggering when you consider that Arlene Foster is the same woman who the High Court found had unlawfully prevented grieving families from accessing the basic right of an inquest into the death of their loved ones.
“She is right about one thing however, the issues that led to the collapse of Stormont can be resolved but that will require an end to the DUP’s denial of rights which is preventing power-sharing.
“Unfortunately, the only strategy we have seen from Arlene Foster is to do nothing other than prevent the restoration of the institutions on the basis of equality and there was nothing in her speech to indicate that any new approach is imminent.” CRÍOCH/ENDS