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Lack of Executive is ‘untenable and cannot continue’, O’Neill tells British Government

1 March, 2019 - by Michelle O'Neill

Commenting today after speaking to British Secretary of State Karen Bradley, Sinn Féin Vice-President Michelle O’Neill said:

“Sinn Féin wants to be in Government taking decisions affecting local people, industry and our key sectors.

“I have told the British Secretary of State that the situation of no Executive or Assembly is untenable and cannot continue.

“I am fully committed to Sinn Féin playing our full part in any serious and meaningful talks process which remove obstacles to proper power-sharing, deliver a successful outcome and restore the Assembly.

“However we have yet to see Karen Bradley prioritise such a process, and I have told her it is time she did.

“The present reality is that Karen Bradley’s Government is wholly reliant on the DUP at Westminster to stay in power, and both are at complete odds with the cross-community majority of MLAs and public here who believe there is nothing good to come from Brexit, who do not want any resurrection of the border and want to safeguard jobs, livelihoods and peace.

“It therefore appears to us that neither the British Government nor the DUP want an Assembly and Executive at this time which would impede their Brexit ambitions.

“The British Government and DUP between them are doing not only a disservice but a hatchet job on our economy and prospects of political progress and it cannot go on.”

Michelle O’Neill also raised the recent Supreme Court judgement relating to the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane. She said: “I raised the case of Pat Finucane with the British Secretary of State and the urgent requirement for her Government to now honour their commitment from Weston Park to hold a Public Inquiry in order to get to the full truth of the murder of Mr Finucane in 1989. We have also written and made the same call to British Prime Minister Theresa May.”

Speaking in relation to Brexit and a No deal crash out of the European Union, Michelle O’Neill added:

“I told Karen Bradley that Brexit is already severely impacting business confidence and a No deal crash out of the European Union in only a matter of weeks’ time is unthinkable.

“It would present a massive hammer blow to the peace process, jobs, businesses ability to trade and people’s loss of rights and quality of life, particularly in border communities.

“I meet regularly with our key business and industry leaders on all of these issues. In the past fortnight I have met with CBI, Chamber of Commerce, Freight Transport Association, plus 20 local companies and big employers this week who have very real concerns that a No Deal Brexit and hard border will multiply the cost of doing business, risk investment and threaten job losses.

“They too want local Ministers taking decisions in the best interests of our people and economy without further delay.

“I will continue to argue a strong case for protecting the backstop within the Withdrawal Agreement of which the EU has made clear is not going to be reopened for negotiation, and that we fight our corner to protect peace, peoples livelihoods, jobs and our business competitiveness.”

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