‘Dublin must assert rights of northern citizens’ - O’Neill

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Rather than simply bemoaning the lack of an Executive in the North, the Taoiseach should be asserting his government’s role as co-guarantor of previous agreements in order to help re-establish it, Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Michelle O’Neill has said.

The Sinn Féin Vice President was responding to comments made by Leo Varadkar at the Fine Gael ‘think-in’ today in Galway.

She said: “It is disappointing to hear the Taoiseach bemoaning the fact that the North is still without an Assembly and Executive as if his government has no responsibilities for ensuring the right conditions are in place for a power-sharing administration to be re-established.

“The institutions of the Good Friday Agreement must be underpinned by the principles of equality, mutual respect and parity of esteem that are guaranteed by that agreement. That is not the case if the DUP, supported by the British Government, persist with denying rights and equality to citizens in the North.

“Leo Varadkar would not tolerate discrimination against the LGBT community, women, victims and Irish speakers in Dublin. He should not tolerate it in Belfast either.

“The Dublin Government should assert its full role as a co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement in order to help restore the political institutions and address directly the core problem of the denial of rights.

“Leo Varadkar has pledged not to abandon northern citizens in the context of Brexit. He also has responsibilities to them in terms of rights and his government, rather than engaging in party political attacks, should be showing leadership in securing and defending rights which are routinely delivered everywhere else on this island.”

ENDS/CRIOCH