A Letter From Ireland
Updated: Jun 5, 2021
DUP Leader Commits to End Boycott of North-South Ministerial Council.
DUP Boss Edwin Poots
a Chairde, They say that a week is a long time in politics, well the last forty-eight hours have been a fortnight. On Wednesday the DUP again refused to attend a meeting of ministers from Dublin and Belfast. This led to the meeting being canceled. This was the latest of no-shows since the DUP announced in February that they would disrupt North-South cooperation and briefed the media that this would include a boycott of North-South Ministerial meetings. A boycott of these meetings is a direct violation of the Ministerial Pledge of Office and would lead to a collapse of the institutions.
Sinn Féin Deputy President Michelle O'Neill
On Wednesday evening Sinn Féin deputy President, Michelle O’Neill called out the DUP actions and asserted the need to honor agreements and deliver the outstanding commitments saying:
"Those commitments include equality for the LGBT community, for women, and the Irish language. They also include the full operation of all the political institutions of the Good Friday Agreement, including the North-South Ministerial Council and the British Irish Council. North-South ministerial meetings are an integral part of those political institutions alongside the Executive and the Assembly."
Michelle O'Neill then called on the new DUP leader Edwin Poots to,“confirm whether he will be attending the forthcoming North-South Ministerial meeting as the DUP boycott cannot be allowed to continue.”
By Thursday morning the DUP, called out on breaking their obligations were claiming that there was no boycott and that they were just not turning up! Late on Thursday, Edwin Poots committed to attending the upcoming Ministerial meeting which is planned for the next two weeks. Sinn Féin is resolute that agreements made; must be agreements implemented and the working of the institutions and the Good Friday Agreement must be respected. The DUP has now committed to ending their boycott of North-South Cooperation but has so far refused to set a timetable for the inaction of the agreed Irish language act. It's a long weekend here, the sun is trying to come out and the pubs and restaurants partially open on Monday. Have a great weekend and keep the faith. Is mise Ciarán Quinn
Sinn Féin Representative to North America
Check out last week's Ciaran Quinn dispatch for more context: