Sinn Fein leader in the north Michelle O’Neill has told the new British Secretary of State Karen Bradley that there must be a change of approach from her government if talks are to succeed in establishing an Executive which delivers for all.
Sinn Féin will enter a short intensive talks process to test the willingness of the British government and the DUP to address the issues at the core of this crisis – an Irish Language Act, marriage equality and legacy inquest funding.
Michelle O’Neill was speaking after talking to Tanáiste Simon Coveney and British Secretary of State Karen Bradley at Stormont today.
“I spoke with the Tanáiste Simon Coveney and met Karen Bradley this morning and confirmed that Sinn Féin will enter this talks process on a short and intensive basis.
“We are determined to find a resolution that sees the institutions restored and delivering rights for all citizens.
“Credible, sustainable institutions can only be based on equality, respect and genuine partnership government.
“These talks will be a test of whether the British government and the DUP are finally willing to endorse these basic principles.
“Both governments have a responsibility for rights and equality under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.
“I welcome the Taoiseach’s recent statement as a concrete commitment to this.
“I told Karen Bradley that the British government is not a neutral and impartial player and there must be a change of approach on her part.
“For too long, the British Government has acquiesced in the denial of rights that are available everywhere else on these islands.
“The party delegation, which included Conor Murphy MLA and Gerry Kelly MLA, also raised the issue of leaked proposals on boundary changes which point to gross gerrymandering of constituencies in favour of the DUP.
“Manipulation of the democratic process is totally unacceptable.”