‘DUP must end its blockade on power-sharing’ – O’Neill

The DUP could remove the barriers to the creation of a new Executive at Stormont by ending their anti-rights blockade, Sinn Féin Leader in the North Michelle O’Neill has said.

 “Sinn Féin is determined to see the restoration of power-sharing institutions,” she commented.

“The vast majority of the public also want to see this and I very much welcome the initiative from civic nationalism this week calling for respect and equality at the heart of the process.

“Sinn Féin wants to see civic society empowered and participating in the political process.

“It is essential that every sector of society regardless of political allegiance, who want to protect our interests and future, make their voice heard and make it count.

“Ongoing cuts to hard-pressed public services is a consequence of propping up the Tory Government and its austerity project.

“The DUP need to start listening, because the challenges facing our public services, particularly our health and education systems, require the attention and knowledge of locally elected and accountable Ministers working collectively in the Executive.

“The need for cohesive political leadership to drive forward the transformation of our health service set out in the Bengoa Report is the most urgent example of this.

“But the anti-rights and anti-equality stance of the DUP is preventing this. The DUP is, in effect, putting unpopualr party and personal views ahead of our health, education and other essential public services.

“The majority of MLAs want to see marriage equality, language rights and legacy inquests delivered. The majority of MLAs are progressive in their thinking.

“The main block to the delivery of these basic rights and to the full and immediate restoration of the political institutions is the DUP. Its anti-rights agenda is entirely out of sync with public opinion across these islands. The DUP needs to end this stubborn anti-equality blockade which would allow us all to get back to the work that we were elected to do”.

“The British government also needs to stop pandering to the DUP by allowing them to block rights they afford their own constituents.”