Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein appeal to British and Irish governments to intervene to restore Executive

By Jonathan Bell

Sinn Fein has called for the British and Irish governments to step in and impose the outstanding issues that have stopped the formation of government in Northern Ireland.

Michelle O'Neill said that the talks process had ended as they "couldn't go on endlessly without resolution," but direct rule was not an option.

James Brokenshire is to legislate for a budget from Westminster. Mrs O'Neill said this was "an acknowledge by the British Government an agreement was not possible". She would not rule out an Irish language act being legislated for from London.

LIVE: Sinn Fein statement at Stormont

Posted by Belfast Telegraph on Monday, November 13, 2017

"The issues are not going away, whether you deal with them now or in one or two months, they need to be resolved so people can have confidence in the institutions," she said.

"We are committed to the Good Friday Agreement.... but we need to see parity of esteem and mutual respect from our partners in government."

Since January, the DUP and Sinn Fein have held talks on restoring the institutions. Sinn Fein brought the institutions down over matters concerning the past, identity an Irish Language act and the botched Renewable Heating Incentive.

Michelle O'Neill said her party had been "flexible and willing to stretch ourselves in order to get a breakthrough".

She said some progress had been made in the talks but accused the DUP of resisting agreement and claiming Theresa May was more interested in protecting her political career than supporting an agreement.

"A denial of rights would not be tolerated in Dublin or London and it should not be tolerated here," she added.

"In absence of the Assembly and Executive the choice for the two 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.”

Asked if that meant an Irish language act imposed from Westminster, she added: "Clearly the two governments have a responsibility to resolve the issue of rights.

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