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16/06/2017

Sinn Fein Accuses Theresa May Of Breaching Good Friday Agreement

Sinn Fein has accused Prime Minister Theresa May of breaching the Good Friday Agreement as she continues to seek a deal with the DUP to support a minority Conservative government.

President Gerry Adams met with Mrs May in London on Thursday, 15 June, and he told her she was playing "fast and loose" with the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr Adams said: "Both the government and the DUP have refused to implement key agreements on language and equality rights and dealing with the legacy of the past.

"The DUP are opposed to rights that are enjoyed across Britain and in the rest of Ireland, especially in respect of LGBT citizens and marriage equality.

"The failure to honour commitments made, in some cases almost 20 years ago, and the allegations of corruption over the Renewable Heat Initiative are why Martin McGuinness resigned.

"That is why the Institutions are in crisis.

The British government have made clear its intention to scrap the Human Rights Act and leave the European Court of Justice, and the European Convention on Human Rights. This is a direct attack on the Good Friday Agreement, and the core human rights elements of the agreement. 

"The imposition of Brexit, against the will of the people of the North, will undermine the all-Ireland structures and rights of citizens in the North to EU citizenship, which are guaranteed under the Good Friday Agreement. 

"We warned Mrs May that the pact between the Tories and the DUP has the potential to undermine past agreements and the re-establishment of the Executive.

"Any deal that undermines the Good Friday Agreement will be opposed by Sinn Féin and we would hope the Irish Government.
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"If the institutions are to be put in place they need to be sustainable, viable and properly resourced. Sinn Fein has consistently made this point and Michelle O'Neill reiterated that with Prime Minister May. We also argued for a financial package.

"We told the British Prime Minister that in our view she is playing fast and loose with the Good FridayAgreement in a desperate attempt to cling to power.

"We challenged the British Government to fully implement the outstanding aspects of the Good Friday and subsequent agreements."

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood said: "The Prime Minister will have to do a lot more, however, to convince us that the DUP tail isn't wagging the Tory dog.

"Their influence on the British Government is a cause for deep concern that must be addressed to assure the public and political parties of the independence of the talks process. The Irish government will be critical to that and the should reassert their role as co-guarantors of our agreements.

"We remain committed to a comprehensive outcome to the talks and one that, critically, sees the re-establishment of our institutions."

UUP Leader Robin Swann said: "An agreement may be reached with the DUP but what will Sinn Fein seek in return? If the DUP get a deal for the benefit of all the people in Northern Ireland, that should be welcomed. We will wait and see. In the past Labour governments made despicable side deals over 'on-the-run' letters and Royal Prerogatives of Mercy. Under no circumstances should anything like that ever be allowed to happen again. Victims were betrayed and confidence in politics was shattered.

"We were assured by the Prime Minister that she wasn't looking a 'hard' Brexit or a 'soft' Brexit, but rather the 'right' Brexit. With months and years of negotiations in front of us the Prime Minister demonstrated realism about the way ahead. I reaffirmed that a border up the middle of the Irish Sea was totally unacceptable and as unionists we would always work to retain the integrity of the United Kingdom and that is a goal we share with the Prime Minister. We will continue to do what's right for Northern Ireland."

(CD)

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