October 26, 2019
DUP dragging our people and business into a nightmare – O’Neill

Speaking today in response to Arlene Foster’s speech at the annual DUP party conference, Sinn Féin Leas Uachtarán Michelle O’Neill MLA said: 

“Arlene Foster and the DUP do not speak for the majority of people and business across the North.

“The toxic DUP pact with the Tories at Westminster has achieved nothing for the people here other than the continuing threat of being dragged out of the EU and into a nightmare which they have not consented to and ongoing Tory cuts to public services. 

“This has caused huge anger. 

“There is no good Brexit.

“The political unionist majority is gone. There will be no unionist veto as part of any rolling consent for the Assembly as part of any deal now or in the future.

“The people and businesses across every constituency have been clear that they want a deal which avoids a crash out and prevents a hard border on this island.

“As political leaders we have a responsibility to protect people’s jobs and livelihoods, and this means seamless trade and no land border checks or customs tariffs on this island.

“The DUP continues to deliberately conflate the principle of consent set out in the Good Friday Agreement on the constitutional status, with the issue of parallel consent which is in reference only to the workings of the assembly.

“The Agreement has been under ferocious attack by hard Brexiteers and I do not expect that to end anytime soon.

“Arlene Foster must recognise that human rights and equality guarantees in law are a central part of the Agreement.

“The DUP has yet to embrace these guarantees against the will of the majority of parties, MLAs and electorate.

“Sinn Féin remains fully committed to the restoration of the Good Friday Agreement institutions on a firm, fair and just basis in the short period ahead.

“This must be based on full respect for, and protection and expression of, the rights and identities of one another’s traditions which even-handedly afford our communities parity of esteem, respect and equality of treatment, and opportunity.

“What has impeded progress since April are the realities of the DUP failure to embrace human rights and equality guarantees in law, Brexit and their toxic pact with the Tories at Westminster.

“The continued stalemate is untenable and unsustainable and is quickly running out of road.

“The world is moving on, and it will move on quickly.

“Nationalists and republicans need a partner to negotiate with. 

“This will only be solved by political leadership. It’s time Arlene Foster and the DUP returned to the table to engage meaningfully in negotiations for the first time since they walked away from talks and an agreement in 2018.”

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