Murphy challenges Downing Street to convene intergovernmental conference
If the British Government are genuine in their stated intention to ‘remove the barriers’ to power-sharing, they must immediately convene the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference, Sinn Féin MLA Conor Murphy has said.
The Sinn Féin negotiator was commenting after the British Government said today that it ‘continues to work intensively with all the parties’ to resolve the Stormont deadlock.
Conor Murphy commented:
“We have seen precious little evidence of intensive effort from the British Government. In fact, the opposite has been the case with Theresa May’s government clearly adopting a ‘do nothing’ approach ever since the DUP walked away from the draft agreement and collapsed the talks process back in February.
“However, today’s statement released by Downing Street also commits to upholding the British Government’s commitments under the Good Friday Agreement and to work to ‘remove the barriers’ to power-sharing.
“If they are genuine about that intention, then it is very clear what they need to do next. The Good Friday Agreement is clear that the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference is the vehicle to resolve the issues that are preventing a restoration of the power-sharing institutions.
“We all know what the barriers are – it is the DUP’s ongoing refusal to enter power-sharing arrangements on the basis of equal treatment for all citizens.
“Equal treatment shouldn’t even be a subject for discussion or negotiation. It should a given and the fact the British Government have so far failed to confront the DUP on that shows the extent to which their toxic pact has corrupted their role in the political process here.
“Nevertheless, if Theresa May is today indicating that she is finally prepared to deal with the issues of rights and equality at the heart of the crisis, then we look forward to the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference being convened as a matter of urgency.”