Governments must safeguard the rights of citizens – McDonald

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD,  party Vice President Michelle O’Neill MLA and Conor Murphy MLA  met tonight with An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste  Simon Coveney to discuss the DUP’s decision to collapse the talks process in the North.

Speaking following the meeting Mary Lou McDonald said:

“Over the past 13 months, Sinn Féin has been engaged in negotiations to implement previous agreements, secure the rights of citizens and re-establish the power sharing Executive on the basis of equality and respect.

“We reached a draft agreement with the DUP leadership. We were disappointed that the DUP walked away from that draft agreement and ended the talks process.

“We cannot allow a political vacuum to develop or tolerate the continued denial of rights of citizens. The talks process has been collapsed.  Direct rule is not an option.  The two governments must now act.

“The Good Friday Agreement provides for a British Irish Intergovernmental Conference to reflect the co-equal and co-guarantor status of the two governments.

“The two governments must initiate this conference as a matter of urgency and move to implement previous agreements. These include an Irish Language Act, the release of funds for legacy inquests and progress the legacy mechanisms, as well as safeguarding the rights of citizens including the right to marriage equality.”