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  • Writer's pictureFriends of Sinn Féin USA

Breaking a Pledge Before It’s Made.

At the beginning of February, the DUP announced a 5 part plan to protest the Brexit trade deal agreed between the British Government and EU. As part of this plan, they committed to disrupting cooperation between Belfast and Dublin. Journalists were briefed that this would include boycotting the meeting of the North-South Ministerial Council.

Since then a boycott has been in effect. Several Ministerial Council meetings have been canceled as the DUP ministers refused to attend.

Attendance at these meetings is mandatory and a commitment of the Ministerial Pledge of Office. The operation of the North-South Ministerial Council is interrelated and interdependent on the operation of the institutions in the North of Ireland and between Ireland and Britain. Like a three-legged stool if one institution is not working the whole thing collapses.

The refusal of the DUP ministers to operate the North-South Ministerial Council is not only a breach of their pledge of office it also threatens to collapse the Institutions in the North.

In the coming weeks Edwin Poots, the new leader of the DUP, is expected to nominate a new First Minister and ministerial team. It is a condition of appointment that each DUP Minister signs the Pledge of Office.

Yet the DUP is operating a boycott in breach of the pledge.

Sinn Féin is determined to hold the DUP to its obligations on an Irish Language Act, North-South Cooperation, and safeguard the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement.

Sinn Féin Deputy President Michelle O’Neill said, “North-South ministerial meetings are an integral part of those political institutions alongside the Executive and the Assembly.

“They need to be functioning properly with ministers from all parties attending.

“The DUP leader needs to confirm whether he will be attending the forthcoming North-South Ministerial meeting as the DUP boycott cannot be allowed to continue.”

Thanks to your support Sinn Féin will continue to protect the Good Friday Agreement and progress the cause of Irish Unity.

For more on this story check out: Kicking a 3 Legged Stool (

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