23/03/2017

Sinn Féin Opposes Extension To Stormont Talks

Sinn Féin is opposed to extending the deadline on talks to form a new power-sharing Executive.

An agreement must be made by Monday 27 March or another election may take place.

Speaking in Newry, Leader Gerry Adams said: "There is clearly a desire among the majority of the parties for a step change in how business is done in the political institutions. There is also a consensus on the need for better and transparent good governance on behalf of all of the people and for the full implement of the Good Friday Agreement.

"It is possible for agreement to be reached in the coming days. From our point of view this is about an implementation process. There cannot be continuous negotiation and re-negotiation of agreements already made. So Sinn Féin is opposed to any extension of Monday's deadline or a return to British Direct Rule.

"In 2006 the British and Irish governments agreed in a joint statement that the restoration of the political institutions would see the British government's power to suspend the Assembly lapse for good.

"They also agreed, if the Executive was not formed, to begin detailed work on British-Irish partnership arrangements to ensure that the Good Friday Agreement is actively developed across its structures and functions.
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"While the governments have not developed the British-Irish partnership arrangements envisaged if the Executive was not formed at that time, the British government's power to suspend the Assembly is gone.

"Of course this legislation could be reintroduced at any time but this would be a very serious step, which the Irish Government would be compelled to oppose. We look to the Taoiseach to make that clear.

"Next week the Tories will trigger Article 50. The DUP position on Brexit is entirely wrong and will have huge consequences for the people of the North, and especially the border communities. It is already clear that Brexit will mean a hard border, will cost jobs, and have a devastating impact on our agricultural and agri-foods sectors.

"That is why Sinn Féin opposed Brexit and that is why we developed our proposal 'The Case for the North to achieve Designated Special Status within the EU' and went on a major diplomatic offensive to build support for it. The position of Special Status is now supported by Fianna Fáil and Labour in Leinster House and by the majority of parties and MLAs in the Assembly.

"There is an urgent imperative for all parties and independents who share this view to form a coalition to combat the consequences of Brexit.

"We will support all of the sectors who will be disadvantaged by this unfair refusal by the Tories in London to accept the democratic will of the people of this part of Ireland and across the island."

(CD)

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