Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said that there can be no return to Direct Rule in the aftermath of the DUP’s decision yesterday to collapse the talks process in the north.
Teachta Doherty said:
“When the latest round of talks was announced in January, we said that a sharp, focused negotiation was required to resolve the outstanding issues of rights and equality that are available everywhere else on this island and in Britain.
“Sinn Féin engaged, we worked in good faith, we stretched ourselves. There was an accommodation with the DUP. We had the basis of a deal.
“The Irish government, based on what the Tánaiste has said believed there was the basis for a deal, and the British government likewise.
“The DUP failed to close that deal and collapsed the process yesterday afternoon.
“The issues involved are not going away. Sinn Féin know that, the Irish government know that, the British government know that and the DUP know that.
“These issues don’t threaten anybody. They are issues of rights. Rights for all do not mean less rights for some. I would urge the DUP to reflect on their position.
“I want to acknowledge the Tánaiste’s contribution in trying to make this work. He has been involved and engaged.
“Sinn Féin want the institutions up and running, and public services and rights being delivered for all.
“Sinn Féin are crystal clear on what happens next – Direct Rule is not an option.
“The Taoiseach said in December that the Irish government ‘won’t be supporting direct rule’ and in September the Tánaiste said there ‘can be no British-only direct rule’.
“They need to make that position clear to the British government”.