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Attempts to move away from agreements will fail - O’Neill

7 October, 2018 - by Michelle O'Neill

Speaking ahead of a meeting with British Secretary of State Karen Bradley, Sinn Féin deputy leader Michelle O'Neill has said any attempt to move away from the Good Friday and other agreements towards Direct Rule will fail.

The party's Vice-President said:

“We met the British of Secretary of State in September to set out Sinn Féin’s firm belief that she only acted last month due to the imminent prospect of a court order challenging her to set a date for a fresh assembly election.

“Her move to suspend her powers to call an election as set out in legislation is a retrograde step and any attempt to move away from the Good Friday and other agreements towards Direct Rule will fail.

“The actions of the British government serve to undermine the democratic process by preventing citizens from electing public representatives.

“Far from providing an opportunity to re-establish political dialogue with the aim of restoring the Executive as soon as possible, no credible process has been presented by both Governments to the parties which Sinn Féin have been insisting upon since February.

“It clear that the British government’s reliance on the DUP remains the main block to progress here. 

“The reduction in MLA pay was long overdue. Sinn Féin told Karen Bradley that on several occasions but it is clear she was reluctant to move because of resistance from the DUP. We welcome that the cut will now happen. 

“Public services must continue to function but parameters for decision-making must be agreed. It is our view that the previous Programme for Government and previous Ministerial direction provides the basis for this. 

“Sinn Féin is a party of dialogue and we have invested in and are fully committed to the Good Friday Agreement framework and its institutions, but they must operate on the basis and spirt in which they were created.

“We want an inclusive all-party Executive which the people trust to deliver and who can work together on important decisions like driving economic development, investment and jobs; fixing our broken health service and the many other challenges that we face.

“We are facing a Brexit crisis which is deepening, unprecedented and chaotic and which is unpredictable to everyone and opposed by a majority of MLAs and political parties. 

“In the absence of rights-based institutions, the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference is the forum to ensure the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, to resolve the issue of rights and to address the oversight of the political process.”

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