Speaking in Derry’s Guildhall Square following a march to mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights campaign, Mary Lou McDonald said:
“It is an honour to be here in Derry. The city of Martin McGuinness, John Hume and now of Elisha McCallion. This proud city stands on the shoulders of giants.
“Fifty years ago people came together to form the civil rights movement. Facing discrimination, inequality, poverty and locked into a single-party state which did not respect or recognise them.
“The response of the Orange State was laid bare for all to see.
“While so much has changed, so much progress made, we have much further still to travel: For women; bodily autonomy. For our LGBT+ community; the right to marriage equality. For victims of conflict; truth and justice. For the rights and recognition of our Gaeilgeoirí.
“Rights are not orange or green issues. The blocking of rights by the DUP is an injustice to all.
“All facilitated by a British government hell bent on Brexit, dependent on the DUP.
“They have learnt nothing. Discrimination was wrong in 1968. It is wrong in 2018. It was fiercely opposed in 1968. It must be fiercely opposed in 2018.
“The old Stormont regime sought to deny civil rights. The old Stormont regime is gone. The Tory deal with the DUP will go and its legacy will be the disaster of Brexit.
“If the DUP ever want to be back in Stormont again, it will only be on the basis of equality, rights and respect. There will be no return to the status quo.
“It is time for the Irish government to stand up for Irish interests and our agreements. Ireland will not be the collateral damage for a Tory Brexit.
“The battle for equality and civil rights is not history. We will have full civil rights and we will have equality. And we will have a new and united Ireland.
“We face the future in the sure knowledge that equality will prevail. That we shall overcome.” Ends/Críoch