Belfast Telegraph

DUP will drive economy 'over a cliff' for narrow agenda, says Sinn Fein's O'Neill

Sinn Fein's Michelle O'Neill has hit out at the DUP's role in Brexit negotiations, claiming the party leader Arlene Foster is willing to "drive our economy over the cliff in pursuit of her narrow agenda".

Sinn Fein's leader in Northern Ireland made the comments during a speech in Tipperary on Sunday in the wake of leaked documents which purport to show DUP leader Arlene Foster saying a no-deal Brexit is now the most likely outcome to negotiations.

The comments were included in emails seen by the Observer in which UK Government advisers discuss comments made in a meeting between Arlene Foster and leader of the Conservative MEPs Ashley Fox.

Next week Prime Minister Theresa May will travel to Brussels to attend a key summit of EU leaders which had been slated as the deadline for an agreement on terms for the 'divorce' deal between the EU and the UK - although it is possible this could be extended into November.

"The majority of MLAs elected in the north are opposed to Brexit," Mrs O'Neill said, speaking at an event to commemorate Sean Treacy, an IRA man killed during the Irish War of Independence.

“This is being wilfully ignored by Theresa May and her accomplice Arlene Foster and I have no doubt that one or the other, or both will pay a heavy price politically.

“The DUP are isolationists and on the wrong side of the argument and the democratic will of the people."

Mrs O'Neill said the DUP supported a "Brexit at the cost of imposing a hard border".

“Arlene Foster is prepared to drive our economy over the cliff in pursuit of her narrow agenda with no regard for the future prosperity of the people of the north who will pick up the tab for her reckless Brexit," she said.

She said Sinn Fein and "other progressive parties" would continue to work with the EU to protect Northern Ireland's economy and the Good Friday Agreement.

Mrs O'Neill said Irish unity had taken on a "new dynamic" because of Brexit, and the Good Friday Agreement provides "a peaceful democratic pathway to Irish unity".

She added it was the party's "historic task" to persuade people "it’s in their economic, cultural and political interests to share power not only at Stormont – but on an All-Ireland basis together".

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