Belfast Telegraph

British Government must step up to plate, says Sinn Fein's O'Neill

By Staff Reporter

Sinn Fein has accused the British Government of "holding up" justice for families whose loved ones were killed during the Troubles.

The party's Northern Ireland leader Michelle O'Neill said funding for legacy inquests is a key issue for Sinn Fein as part of its negotiations into the restoration of the power-sharing executive.

Sinn Fein said it broke off its meeting with Secretary of State James Brokenshire on Tuesday because all he did was "waffle, waffle, and more waffle".

Mrs O'Neill claimed he had still not agreed to release funds for legacy inquests and yesterday she led party meetings in Gerry Adams' absence.

She said: "We do not want to go through the process of meetings after meetings. We need to see action."

Following a meeting with Irish Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan at Stormont, Mrs O'Neill said: "It is a time for strong political leadership and delivery.

"The British Government is holding up access to due process for families. They are key players in this. They need to step up to the plate."

The Mid Ulster MLA added: "We raised a wide range of issues with Minister Flanagan, including equality, the Irish Language Act and legacy inquests.

"I told him that families, some of whom have waited up to 45 years, were heartened by his support for the Lord Chief Justice's request for funds for legacy inquests.

"We made it clear that Sinn Fein is not looking a renegotiation, what we need is implementation of agreements already made.

"The Irish Government is a co-equal guarantor of those agreements and they must ensure that the British Government honours its commitments.

"If progress is to be made in these discussions then a major change in the approach of the British Government will be required."

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