The Week in Review
16 – 23 June 2017
Time running out for Stormont talks – Conor Murphy MLA
Speaking on Thursday, Sinn Féin MLA Conor Murphy stated that the British government’s attempt to get the DUP to shore up Theresa May’s administration was making it increasingly difficult to get a resolution in the ongoing talks at Stormont.
Mr Murphy said: “The British government set Thursday 29th June as a statutory deadline to the talks. Then they arrested any potential progress by calling an election in the self interest of the Tory Party. Since that initiative dramatically backfired they have engaged in negotiations for the past two weeks with the DUP.”
He continued, “Media speculation suggests the conclusion to this will not be revealed until Thursday 29th June. Yesterday (Wednesday) the two governments said that the actual deadline for the talks is Tuesday June 27th. The British government is content to go through the motions at Stormont but their main focus is elsewhere.”
He concluded: “Given the lack of progress in the Stormont Talks and the lack of knowledge about the impact of any Tory/DUP deal on our public services, on agreements and on the political institutions, Sinn Féin is concerned that time is running out.”
Unionism should join the new Ireland debate – Michelle O’Neill MLA
Sinn Féin’s Northern leader Michelle O’Neill has called on political unionism to join the debate about shaping a new and agreed Ireland.
Writing for the eamonmallie.com website ahead of a major conference on Irish Unity this weekend, which is open to the public, the Mid-Ulster MLA also pointed to recent election results as evidence of growing demand for reunification.
The Sinn Féin MLA wrote, “The trend is obvious, there is a growing nationalist and republican vote, there is a growing progressive vote that is looking for real change In the recent Westminster election, unionist parties failed to secure 50% of the vote for the first time in the northern state, despite pitching it as a referendum on the union. If the result was a high water mark for unionism then the tide is certainly turning because the growing nationalist electorate have clearly turned their back on Westminster and now see the future based on all-Ireland and European representation.”
Ms O’Neill continues: “Sinn Féin accepts that it is up to us to convince unionists of the merits of a new Ireland and we are confident that we have the economic, social and political arguments to do so. Independent studies have already concluded that the island’s economy would benefit to the tune of €35 billion. Can any responsible political party really close their minds to that simply because it isn’t what they want to hear? We are confident about reunification. We are confident in our analysis and our vision of hope for the future. Unionism now needs to ask itself if it is as confident about the benefits of a union that has brought us Brexit, austerity, partition, conflict and decades of inequality and discrimination?”
The National Conference, ‘An Agreed Future?’ takes place in the Waterfront, Belfast at 12pm on Saturday June 24th. You can read Michelle O’Neill’s full article here.
Leo’s “no government for Irish women” slammed by Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin TD Kathleen Funchion has criticised the new Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s appointment of just seven women out of a possible 33 junior and senior ministries.
Speaking on Tuesday the Carlow/Kilkenny TD said; “At a time when Irish women face increased hardship as a result of the austerity policies of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour; when women and children live in danger due to cuts in domestic violence and rape crisis services; when the state’s maternity hospitals are literally falling apart; when women are forced out of the workplace due to lack of affordable childcare; in the face of a referendum on the eighth amendment, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, in his wisdom, has seen fit to appoint only seven women to the 33 available junior and senior ministry positions. Truly this is no government for Irish women as the jobs for the boys, crony culture pioneered by their friends in Fianna Fáil is perpetuated by the so-called ‘new politics’ of Fine Gael and Leo Varadkar.”
A Tory government prioritising itself over Stormont – Elisha McCallion MP
The Tory Government is prioritising a self-serving negotiation with the DUP over the Stormont talks, Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has said.
Speaking from Westminster on Wednesday, Elisha McCallion commented:
“Theresa May set out her priorities in the Queen’s speech today and, unsurprisingly, protecting the North from Brexit and austerity cuts didn’t feature. Her government committed to legislation to leave the Customs Union and the Single Market and imposing Brexit on the people of the North. The DUP supports this position and it will have a devastating impact on our economy, rights and public services.”
She continued, “There were honeyed words about supporting the re-establishment of the institutions in the North but no commitment to live up to their obligations on existing agreements or safeguarding the equal rights of citizens or ending their attacks on public services. Their stated commitment to strengthen the union highlights the partisan approach of the Tory government and their refusal to recognise the growing support for Irish Unity. The Tory government has placed self interest above their obligations to the agreements and the institutions in the North.”
The Foyle MP concluded, “The Irish government also has an equal responsibility to assert itself as a co-guarantor of previous agreements and demand the rigorous impartiality which the process requires.”
DUP living in a ‘fool’s paradise’ – Declan Kearney MLA
The DUP is living in a fool’s paradise if they believe there can be a return to the power-sharing institutions without committing to a rights-based approach to government, Sinn Féin Chairperson Declan Kearney has said.
Speaking at the annual Wolfe Tone commemoration in Bodenstown, the South Antrim MLA commented: “The political process in the North remains overshadowed by financial scandals. That is why Sinn Féin stood the DUP leader down from her position last January. This is a serious situation which demands a serious focus by all parties. It is not a game, and it is certainly not a dance. If the DUP really wants to go into the Executive, that party needs to decide whether it is now prepared to embrace a rights based approach to government in the North. If the DUP imagines it can wind back the clock, with a Tory side deal or not, and reestablish the institutions without adherence to equality and rights, then the DUP is indeed living in a fool’s paradise.”
Martina Anderson MEP launches Brexit newsletter
Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson today launched the first in a series of monthly newsletters designed to keep people here updated on the Brexit negotiations.
Speaking at the launch in Newry, Martina Anderson said:
“With the Brexit negotiations now formally underway it is vitally important that people know what is happening. These negotiations will shape our future, our relationships on this island and with Europe. The British government wanted these negotiations to be conducted in secret but I and my Sinn Féin colleagues worked hard to ensure there would be openness and transparency. As part of that commitment to transparency I will be publishing a monthly newsletter on what is happening in the negotiations and how its impact on Ireland. The first issue of that newsletter was launched today in Newry where I and my party colleagues Sinead Ennis, Mickey Brady and John O’Dowd gave an update on Brexit and our demand for designated special status for the north within the EU.”
The newsletter can be accessed at http://martinamep.eu/new-monthly-brexit-newsletter/
DUP should use their influence on Ormeau Road flags
Sinn Féin South Belfast MLA Máirtín Ó Muilleoir has called on DUP MP Emma Little-Pengelly to call for the removal of unionist flags from the Ormeau Road:
“I have been contacted by many residents tonight who are outraged at the actions of men who were hanging union flags along the Ormeau Road. This is a mixed and diverse area. These flags are not wanted. They serve only to heighten tension and widen divisions. The DUP MP should use her influence with those responsible to demand they be removed.”
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