Speaking at Stormont , SF Leader in the North Michelle O’Neill

Speaking at Stormont today, Sinn Féin Leader in the North Michelle O’Neill commented

“The British Secretary of State will today move to introduce a budget to finance public services here. This is an acknowledgement by the British Government that agreement has not been possible.

“The reason for this is the DUP opposition to a rights-based society. While some progress was made, the denial of rights would not be tolerated in Dublin and London and should not be tolerated here. We met the DUP this morning and told them this.

“Since March of this year Sinn Féin has been seeking agreement on the implementation of outstanding commitments as a basis for restoring public trust and confidence in the institutions.

“Sinn Féin were flexible, we were willing to stretch ourselves to achieve a breakthrough and we were right to do so.

“The DUP’s resistance to the implementation of previous agreements and particularly rights available everywhere else in these islands means that there is not a locally-elected Executive to take decisions.

“The British government has been complicit in this, backing the DUP’s refusal to honour the commitments previously made and blocking the delivery of equality.

“Theresa May has prioritised her own electoral survival via the Tory/DUP pact over the interest of all of the people in the North.

“This is compounded by the DUP’s refusal to accept the vote in the North to reject Brexit. The DUP are committed to the North being dragged out of the EU against the will and the interests of people here.

“Last Friday we told the British PM that direct rule is not an option.

“In the absence of the Assembly and Executive the choice for both governments is between the protection of the Good Friday Agreement or its abandonment.

“These issues aren’t going away. It is now the responsibility of the two governments to look to the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement and for a British-Irish intergovernmental conference to meet as soon as possible.

“We have sought urgent meetings with both the Taoiseach and the British Prime Minister. The way forward now is for the two governments to fulfil their responsibility as co-guarantors of the Good Friday and St Andrews Agreements, to honour outstanding commitments, and to deliver rights enjoyed by everyone else on these islands to people here.

“This would pave the way for the Executive to be restored.”