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O’Neill presses Dublin government over responsibilities to Northern citizens

11 September, 2018 - by Michelle O'Neill

The Irish Government must do more to challenge the British government over its reckless and arrogant abandonment of its responsibilities as co-guarantors of previous agreements and citizens’ rights, Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Michelle O’Neill has said.

She was commenting ahead of a meeting with Tanáiste Simon Coveney tomorrow.

“Both governments are co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement and the right of all citizens to expect equality of treatment,” she said.

“Clearly, the British Government is in default of those responsibilities through its relationship with the DUP. 

“Theresa May’s administration has consistently refused to deal with the issues of rights and equality that are preventing a return to power-sharing because that would require confronting the anti-equality agenda of their confidence and supply partners.

“Instead, what we have seen is a reckless, arrogant and disrespectful approach which culminated last week in a suite of measures which subvert the democratic process and previous agreements.

“Faced with the prospect of a court-ordered Assembly poll, British Secretary of State Karen Bradley moved to suspend her powers to call an election as set out in the legislation. That is a hugely retrograde step and a move away from the Good Friday Agreement.

“In those circumstances, there is a heightened onus on the Dublin Government to assert its full role as a co-guarantor of the Agreement in order to help restore the political institutions and address directly the core problem of the denial of rights.

“The Irish Government would not tolerate discrimination against the LGBT community, women, victims and Irish speakers in Dublin. It should not be tolerated in Belfast either and I will be telling Simon Coveney that Dublin must do more than simply bemoaning the lack of an Assembly and Executive in the North.

“They have pledged not to abandon northern citizens in the context of Brexit but they also have responsibilities to them in terms of equality and they should be showing leadership in securing and defending rights which are routinely delivered everywhere else on this island.” 

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