Northern nationalism including the SDLP, should stand together to ensure rights are respected so that sustainable power-sharing institutions are established, Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said.
The Foyle MLA was speaking after SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood called for the restoration of the executive in response to an open letter from leading figures within northern nationalism for their rights to be respected.
“After the initiative was first criticised by some members of his party, SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood has now welcomed it and that is a good thing,” Raymond McCartney commented.
“However, as a solution, he advocates a return to an executive without having addressed the issues of disrespect, the denial or rights, the lack of integrity and the failure to implement agreements that caused its collapse in the first place.
“Rights and equality is the only basis for the restoration of the political institutions. If the SDLP are calling for the restoration of the Assembly at any costs and accepting the anti-rights and anti-equality position of the DUP then let me make it absolutely clear that this is not going to happen.
“The answer now is for northern nationalism, along with the Irish Government, to stand firm for rights, for equality and against Brexit.
“The DUP’s blockade of rights is preventing a return to the institutions. The SDLP should join us to face down the DUP rather than calling for an unconditional restoration of the Assembly and Executive based on DUP prejudice and discrimination.
“Sinn Féin will continue to stand up for rights, for the agreements and for genuine power-sharing institutions. I would urge the SDLP to stand with us in that.”