Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein's John O'Dowd accuses Arlene Foster of 'breath-taking arrogance' in latest war of words

Sinn Fein MLA John O’Dowd has accused DUP Leader Arlene Foster of displaying ‘breath-taking arrogance’ in an attack on the DUP leader.

The Sinn Fein negotiator said he was responding to comments made by Arlene Foster on Thursday.

Mrs Foster said her former partners-in-government needed to prove they could be trusted again before a return to power-sharing.

"They have behaved in an incredibly bad way, therefore the building up of trust is going to take a long time and it is going to take actions," the DUP leader said.

"We have heard a lot from Sinn Fein in relation to reaching out, it's about time they recognised the role they had in relation to the breakdown and in relation to the shattering of trust within the unionist community."

In response Upper Bann MLA O'Dowd said that the DUP had reneged on a draft agreement in February.

“It really is breath-taking arrogance Arlene Foster to accuse anyone of bad faith when it was her party who collapsed the talks and reneged on the draft agreement they had negotiated with Sinn Fein," he said.

“I don’t think there are many people who believe the DUP version of events regarding the collapse of the talks so what we are seeing now is clear distraction politics from Arlene Foster.

“This is compounded by the DUP’s toxic pact with the Tory Party. In part, this is poisoning the process and preventing a return to the power-sharing institutions.

Mr O'Dowd the government needed to act to protect the peace process.

“The British Government are prioritising that self-serving arrangement over the rights of citizens and the interests of the hard-won peace and political processes," the Sinn Fein MLA said.

“That is entirely unacceptable. The British government has a responsibility under the Good Friday Agreement to deal with the rights issues at the heart of the political impasse.

“They need to do that now. They need to convene the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference and pave the way for a return to the power sharing institutions."

The Belfast Telegraph has contacted the DUP for a response to Mr O'Dowds comments but have yet to receive a response.

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