British government’s toxic pact with DUP preventing return of power-sharing – McDonald

Speaking in London today after a senior party delegation, which included Deputy Leader Michelle O’Neill MLA and Órfhliath Begley MP, met with British Prime Minister Theresa May, Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD said:

“Today we met both British Prime Minister Theresa May and Secretary of State for the North, Karen Bradley where we set out in very clear terms how their reckless Brexit is certain to cause untold social and economic damage across the island of Ireland, including to citizens who the DUP claim to represent and defend. It is reckless. It is mindless and it is a gross act of political vandalism.

“The Joint Report of the EU and British negotiators published on 8th December last year reiterated its commitment to protecting the Good Friday Agreement, including the effective operation of the institutions and bodies of the Agreement.

“In relation to the Protocol on IrelandTheresa May agreed at that time that a backstop solution for the border will form part of the legal text of the Withdrawal Agreement, and that this backstop would apply, unless and until, another solution is found.

“The EU rejected her latest position earlier this month, which was an attempt to play for more time.

“Today during the course of our meeting she downplayed her Government’s commitment to the backstop and poured cold water on the European Council meeting later this month as being of any real significance.

“The Irish Government and the EU 27 need to be alert and must stand firm in the face of this dangerous agenda and defend our citizens, our economy and our peace and political process.”

Sinn Féin Leader Mary-Lou McDonald told the British Prime Minister that their toxic pact with the DUP is preventing the return of power-sharing and undermining our economy and peace process.

She said: “The British Government claim their priority is to see the restoration of the power-sharing institutions but we heard nothing today to suggest that they have any plan, strategy or intention to actually make that happen.

“In fact, it is clear the opposite is true. Theresa May’s government has adopted a do-nothing approach in order to protect their toxic pact with the DUP. They are refusing to challenge the DUP on their ongoing denial of rights which would not be tolerated here in Britain. That is what is preventing the return of power-sharing and the British Government need to start taking their responsibilities to equality and previous agreements seriously if there is to be any prospect of restoring the institutions.

“In return for this blind eye from the Tories, the DUP are actively supporting Theresa May’s catastrophic pursuit of a hard Brexit over citizens and sectoral interests locally.

“The onus is now on the two Governments to remove the obstacles to restoring the Executive and we have told Theresa May that she must get on with convening the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference to redress the denial of rights for citizens without further delay.”