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.
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"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."


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