Sinn Féin back rights protestors picketing Julian Smith

Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has voiced support for rights protesters who picketed the new British Secretary of State Julian Smith on his first visit to Derry today.

The Foyle MLA was commenting after joining protestors representing Irish language, LGBT, womens and victims campaigns at Derry’s Guildhall.

He said: “People should not have to be taking to the streets to demand rights and equality but that is the position we are in because of the British Government’s refusal to confront the DUP and to honour its own equality obligations.

“For over two years now, this British Government has prioritised its self-serving pact with the DUP over the rights of citizens. Successive British Secretaries of State have refused to implement previous agreements on an Irish Language Act and dealing with the legacy of the past. They have acquiesced to the DUP’s denial of marriage equality and women’s healthcare rights. They have refused to fund legacy inquests and redress for victims of historical institutional abuse.

“This toxic partnership between the Tories and the DUP has poisoned the political process and, to date, prevented the restoration of the power-sharing institutions on the basis of equality and respect for all.

“Whether anything changes under Boris Johnson’s administration and the new British Secretary of State, Julian Smith, remains to be seen.

“However, one thing is sure. The demand for rights cannot be denied indefinitely. Change is coming, equality is coming and until it has been secured, Sinn Féin will continue to stand foursquare behind all those in our society who are still fighting for their rights.”