‘British Government stalling on its obligations’ – McDonald

The British Government is stalling on its obligations by refusing to convene the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference to resolve the power-sharing crisis, Sinn Féin President Mary-Lou McDonald has said.

Commenting today Mary Lou McDonald said:

“Last week Michelle O’Neill and Pearse Doherty met with Simon Coveney, to discuss the way forward to re-establish the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement.

“After 14 months of negotiations, and after reaching a draft agreement, it is clear the DUP were unable to deal with the issues of language rights, of marriage equality and of implementing the agreement on the past.

“These rights can no longer be denied, and the agreements delayed.

“We have called for the governments to convene the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference to implement the agreements and secure the rights of all citizens. The Irish Government have called for the same.

“It is clear the British Government is refusing to commit to a meeting. It should be remembered that the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference is an institution of the agreements and the responsibility of both governments. The British Government cannot walk away from this institution or its obligations. The British Government have refused to convene this body, without reason or explanation.

“We will continue to meet with both governments, but they must also convene the BIIC to resolve the outstanding issues and honour the agreements.

“We believe this is the best route to re-establishing the executive in the north, anything else runs the risk of talks to no purpose and without an end.

“The British Government cannot be allowed to stall and frustrate the process. They need to make clear they will agree to convene the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference as soon as possible.  There can be no further delay, no further uncertainty, the date should be set.”