Return to talks cannot be a step backwards and must be about delivery of rights – Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Leader, Mary Lou McDonald TD, has responded to remarks made by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the United States last night in which he said he wants to see a return to talks in the North.

Speaking from Washington DC, Ms McDonald said.

“Last night an Taoiseach set out his wish to see a further process of talks in the North.

“I welcome his acknowledgement that Marriage Equality and Language Rights must be delivered. He must ensure that these rights are delivered.

“He might also reflect on the fact that an accommodation was found. We had a draft agreement with the DUP leadership that they walked away from and collapsed the talks process as a result.

“Sinn Fein has said that standing still is not an option. We cannot and will not ask citizens to wait indefinitely for basic rights to be vindicated.

“This should also include the convening of the British Irish Intergovernmental conference.

“So a plan is needed. Momentum must be built into the process. However, we cannot and will not engage in talks for the sake of talks or the optics of talks.

“Any engagement must be about delivery. Any engagement must also be premised on the progress achieved on the core issues of delivery of Acht, marriage equality and resolving legacy issues.”

AnaG