05/01/2018

Sinn Féin Leader Accuses DUP Of 'Refusing To Face Reality'

The DUP have been accused of "refusing to face reality", in Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams first column of the year for the Anderstown News.

Writing in the column, Mr Adams said that Michelle O'Neill and the Sinn Féin negotiating team stand ready to engage positively in any talks, but raised concerns over the likelihood of progress with the DUP.

Mr Adams wrote: "The rationale behind the DUP stance is that it is focused on maintaining the Union but there is no longer any absolute protection for the Union from British Governments the way there used to be. British Government involvement in our affairs will end when a majority vote for that. That is why the Irish government's recent assertions about Irish Unity are welcome."

Gerry Adams also said that the DUP leader Arlene Foster's call for a return to direct rule "flies in the face of her party's devolutionist position. But it also reflects a refusal to face realities.

"The big question in any new negotiation is; can the political parties in the North and the two governments resolve outstanding differences?
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"That is more of a question for the DUP than for a Sinn Féin. Michelle O'Neill and our negotiating team stand ready to engage positively in any talks. Sinn Féin wants the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement to be a positive point in the history of our island.

"The fact is the DUP is betraying the people of the North and the clear vote against Brexit. In particular, it is acting against the interest of a section of its own support base, particularly in the Agri-food sector which will take a huge hit if Brexit goes through on English Tory and Westminster DUP terms."

Responding to the column, the DUP's Sammy Wilson fired back, stating: "The latest comments from the outgoing Sinn Fein President lead me to paraphrase Donald Trump. 'Gerry Adams is about to lose his job, but appears to have already lost his mind.' There is no doubt that he's already lost his memory because the current impasse is entirely a result of Sinn Fein's actions in collapsing the Executive and blocking its restoration.

"If he really is concerned about the poor, homeless and sick then he will join with other parties in returning to the Executive without preconditions rather than the mindless pursuit of squandering money on an Irish Language Act at all costs.

"Since his rhetoric at the start of 2018 is no different to the end of 2017 the prospects for restoring devolution look bleak unless the UK government removes the veto Sinn Fein currently holds by ensuring that if they refuse to participate then other parties can get on with the job of providing government for Northern Ireland."

(MH/LM)

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