British government have no plan after DUP collapse talks – Mary Lou McDonald

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD said today that the DUP decision to collapse political talks in the north could not be an excuse for the continued denial of rights enjoyed by citizens everywhere else on these islands.

The Sinn Féin President was speaking after she led a party delegation including vice President Michelle O’Neill MLA, Conor Murphy MLA and Francie Molloy MP into meetings with British Prime Minister Theresa May and British Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Speaking after the meetings, Mary Lou McDonald TD said:

“For the past 13 months Sinn Féin has been engaged in talks with the DUP and the two governments in an effort to re-establish the Executive in the north on the basis of equality, rights and respect in line with the Good Friday Agreement.

“During the talks a draft agreement was reached with the DUP leadership.

“We are disappointed that the DUP failed to deliver on the agreement and subsequently collapsed the talks process.

“Today it was clear that the British government has no plan. We made it clear to Theresa May that the collapse of the talks by the DUP cannot be an excuse for the continued denial rights to citizens in the north or the refusal to implement previous agreements.

“We updated the British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on the draft agreement we had reached with the DUP, and the need to secure the rights of Irish Speakers, the right to marriage equality and the right of families to coroners’ inquests, rights enjoyed by citizens everywhere else on these islands.

“While the talks process has been collapsed, standing still is not an option for the British government in particular. Citizens have rights, and agreements made, must be agreements implemented.

“The two governments must now act.

“The Good Friday Agreement provides for the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference and this must be convened to ensure the full implementation of agreements and to protect and promote the rights of all citizens.“