‘DUP need to make up their minds’ – O’Dowd
Any new Executive will be a government of equals and the DUP need to decide if they can live with that, Sinn Féin’s John O’Dowd has said.
Speaking from Stormont, the Sinn Féin negotiator commented:
“Two weeks ago, Arlene Foster proposed a return to the Executive while negotiations to resolve the outstanding issues, including the Irish Language Act, continued in parallel. That was her big offer, her big gesture to nationalism and she told us all that the Irish language threatened no one.
“Now she has lined up with the Orange Order and the UUP in ruling out an act and her comments about the language were, quite frankly, insulting.
“Well that tells you all you need to know about how meaningful those parallel negotiations would have been.
“We would have been back in the Executive, back in the status quo and back facing all the same issues that prompted Martin McGuinness to resign in the first place.
“Are the DUP just not listening? Because if they think there will be a return to the status quo they are living in a fool’s paradise.
“It is time for the DUP to make up their minds. Do they want to be part of an executive or not? Because if they do then it must be an Executive that represents the needs and defends the interests of all citizens, including Irish speakers. Including the LGBT community. And including bereaved families.
“They can’t be part of institutions created by the Good Friday Agreement while ignoring the principles that underpin that agreement. Any new administration will be a government of equals. Anything else is pointless and doomed to fail.”