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Sinn Féin meet British Labour MP Owen Smith at Stormont

15 January, 2018 - by Michelle O'Neill

Today Sinn Féin Leader in the North, Michelle O’Neill MLA and West Belfast MP Paul Maskey met with Labour MP Owen Smith, the British Shadow Secretary of State to the north of Ireland, on the current political impasse and Brexit.

Michelle O’Neill said:

“I welcomed the opportunity to meet Owen Smith and his Labour party colleagues today in Belfast.

“Our discussions focused on the current political impasse one year on from the collapse of the political institutions and the ongoing Brexit negotiations with the EU.

“I have reaffirmed Sinn Féin’s position that any talks must be meaningful and be focused on the implementation of agreements already made.

“Citizens must be afforded rights which are enjoyed everywhere else on these islands, including by Owen Smith’s own constituents in Britain. 

“I also made it clear that we in Sinn Féin want the institutions back in place on a sustainable basis because we firmly believe that locally accountable ministers are best placed to tackle the twin threats of Brexit and Tory austerity and prioritising our local political agenda in terms of public services.

“However, we have also made it clear that if agreement with the DUP in the next number of weeks proves impossible then the responsibility to govern and to implement the Good Friday Agreement and equality measures rests with both the British and Irish governments.”

Speaking in relation to Brexit Paul Maskey MP said;

“We made it clear to the Labour Party delegation that what is required from the British Government is for the cross-community vote in the North to be respected and for the North to have designated special status within the EU.

“We have stressed to Owen Smith that the North cannot withstand exclusion from the single market or customs union, and to do so will guarantee a hard economic border on this island.

“We have set out our case for the North to be designated special status within the EU, for the whole island to stay in the EU together and the need to fully preserve and implement all aspects of the Good Friday Agreement, which provides citizenship and equality guarantees for all.”

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