16/02/2018

Draft Deal Agreed Before Talks Collapsed - Sinn Fein

Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald said a draft agreement was made last week to restore power-sharing in Northern Ireland.

She confirmed that the DUP and Sinn Féin leaderships had achieved an accommodation across the issues involved.

However, DUP leader Arlene Foster announced on Wednesday, 14 February, that there was "no current prospect" to restore the Executive.

Mrs McDonald said the DUP failed to close the deal which led to the Stormont talks collapsing.

She said: "Sinn Féin has worked diligently with the governments, the DUP and others to restore the political institutions. 

"We did so because the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement are in the best interests of all our people, our economy, our public services and building reconciliation.

"However, these institutions must operate with respect, equality and integrity. 

"That was Sinn Féin’s approach and that remains our approach.

"There has been a lot of speculation about what was in the draft agreement between us and the DUP.

"There have been calls for it to be published. 

"Sinn Féin at this time will not be publishing the draft agreement.

"This is in keeping with our obligations to ensure that any future phase of negotiations has the best chance to succeed.

"However, this will not happen unless the unionist parties embrace the need for a rights-based society and for citizens' here to enjoy all those rights available across these islands.
News Image
"In keeping with our commitment to transparency we will provide copies of the draft agreement text to the two governments and we will brief the other parties in the Assembly and the Oireachtas.

"Let me also say that a lot of mistruths and inaccuracies have been peddled about  the content of the draft agreement.

"For the record the draft record included an Irish Language Act, an Ulster Scots Act and a Respecting Language and Diversity Act. 

"The Irish Language Act included provision for official recognition of Irish, the creation of an Irish Language Commissioner. The repeal of the ban on Irish in the courts was also to be legislated for. 

"It did not involve at any stage making Irish compulsory or applying quotas to public services. This was not a consideration.

"There has been no meeting of minds on Marriage Equality.

"We anticipate that this issue will be fully considered by the Assembly in the form of a Private Member’s Bill and it is acknowledged that no party alone can table a Petition of Concern.

"There was also agreement to review the abuse of the Petition of Concern and establishing a committee to look at the Bill of Rights."

"Separate from the agreement between the DUP and Sinn Féin we had a commitment from the British government to put to consultation the legacy mechanisms agreed at Stormont House and release the funding requested by the Lord Chief Justice for coroner’s courts.

"Sinn Féin accepted the DUP proposals on sustainability of the institutions."

(CD/MH)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

13 March 2020
IFA Suspends Local Football Fixtures
The Irish Football Association has suspended the current season in response to the evolving coronavirus situation. This includes all Irish League fixtures and domestic football in Northern Ireland. The matches will be rescheduled at a later date, but not before 04 April at the earliest.
07 December 2004
Talks continue as deadline closes in on DUP and SF
Talks are continuing today to restore Northern Ireland devolution ahead of this week's deadline, set by the British and Irish Governments.
04 June 2003
Sinn Fein call for removal of RIR
Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness has described the Royal Irish Regiment (RIR) as a "unionist militia" and said that its retention was not consistent with a process of conflict resolution. Mr McGuinness was speaking shortly before Northern Ireland Secretary of State Paul Murphy met Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon to discuss the future of the RIR.
18 December 2019
DUP Selects New Westminster Leader
The DUP has selected Lagan Valley MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson as its new leader in Westminster. He will replace the outgoing Nigel Dodds, who lost the North Belfast seat to Sinn Fein's John Finucane in last week's General Election. Mr Dodds had held his seat since 2001.
13 December 2019
General Election: NI Returns A Nationalist Majority
The people of Northern Ireland have returned 18 MPs to Westminster, with the balance shifting towards nationalism for the first time. Thursday's General Election saw 62.09% of the region turn out to cast their ballot and those 803,367 votes have significantly changed the Northern Irish representation in the House of Commons.