Sinn Fein accuse Prime Minister May of visiting Belfast to pick a fight
Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald has accused Prime Minister Theresa May of visiting Northern Ireland "to pick a fight".
Mrs McDonald was speaking as the Prime Minister gave a speech in Belfast to political leaders and the business community.
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Rounding off a two-day visit to Northern Ireland, Mrs May expressed disappointment that the region has been without devolved government for more than 18 months.
Speaking at the Waterfront Hall on Friday, Mrs May told the audience – which included DUP leader Arlene Foster and representatives from the Ulster Unionist Party, SDLP and Alliance – that power-sharing talks must restart as soon as possible.
Sinn Fein did not attend the event.
The Prime Minister met a Sinn Fein delegation earlier on Friday.
PM Theresa May’s Speech in Belfast Waterfront HallPosted by Belfast Telegraph on Friday, July 20, 2018
Mrs McDonald described their meeting as a “very challenging one”, and accused Mrs May of “coming to pick a fight with Ireland and to pick a fight with the European Union”.
"It is clear that she is not listening to community and business interests and seeks only to reassure the DUP," the Sinn Fein leader said.
“Her approach today has been provocative, to set aside her agreement with the EU from December and to walk away from a backstop.
“Theresa May claims to want to avoid a hard border in Ireland, while pursuing a policy that will deliver a hard border. "
Protesters from both the victims community and those calling for an Irish language act for Northern Ireland gathered outside the hall ahead of Mrs May’s arrival.
They missed their opportunity to confront the Prime Minister as she entered the building through a different door.
However she was earlier taken to task by teenagers from the Belfast Youth Forum during her visit to the Crescent Art Centre.
One boy brought up the confidence and supply arrangement between the DUP and the Conservative Party.
He told her: “I think your coalition infringes people’s rights here.”
Mrs May replied: “In government, we work for and represent all communities.”
She left the art centre to shouts of “Redress now!” from crowds protesting on behalf of victims of state institutional abuse.
Belfast Telegraph Digital