Sinn Féin Leas Uachtarán Michelle O’Neill MLA has said the British Secretary of State must clearly set out his plan to restore the Executive and Assembly.
Michelle O’Neill said:
“The British Secretary of State has legislated to now create multiple deadlines yet appears to have no actual plan to restore the Assembly and Executive but has instead fuelled political paralysis.
“He has invited the parties to meet with him on Thursday and I expect him to outline what his government’s plan is to help restore power-sharing rather than host window dressing meetings.
“It’s not good enough that as temperatures begin to fall below zero that people here still have no clarity on when they will receive the £600 energy payment that they are entitled to.
“Sinn Féin stands ready to form an Executive and help people through this cost-of-living crisis.
“Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister at the end of October and has yet to engage with the parties here to spell out how he intends moving things on. There has been complete radio silence and it’s simply not good enough. I have requested an urgent meeting with the Prime Minister.
“It’s my understanding that the Protocol Bill is currently making its way through the House of Lords will be put on ice until after the New Year and private talks with Brussels create a pathway towards a negotiated settlement. The British government must urgently clarify this.
“The fundamental question now is how Chris Heaton-Harris is using the space created to now get a deal with the EU and restore the power-sharing institutions.
“The DUP’s boycott of the Executive is clearly having no effect on the British government and is simply punishing the public with no purpose other than to create further hardship at a time when people and business need our help.
“It is now well past time that the British government prioritised restoring the Assembly and Executive. We need stability and certainty for politics to work and to help workers and families who are struggling now.”