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DUP Deny Democracy

Michelle O’Neill First Minister (Elect) Speech today at Stormont.

"Go raibh maith agat a Cheann Comhairle,

May I congratulate colleagues across the chamber today on your election to this Assembly.

It is a special honour to serve and represent the proud communities from which we all come.

We carry the hopes and expectations of the workers, families, and businesses that are relying on us to work together in a spirit of cooperation to deliver real change.

The public will be watching on today as they juggle their work and family responsibilities and struggle to manage household budgets in the hope that the parties in this Chamber have the maturity and courage to shoulder our responsibilities and get down to business and act in the common good.

There is no reason why we should be in a rolling crisis for even one second.

Over the past two years, this Assembly and Executive has delivered and we have proved that politics and power-sharing can work where we give leadership, deliver public services and champion difference and inclusion, but oppose division.

These are my values.

The democratic outcome of the election must be respected.

Today I stand ready to elect a Speaker, form an Executive and take on the leadership of the Northern Ireland Executive as a First Minister for All and a government that works for the people.

It is the job of our heroic doctors, nurses and NHS staff to treat and care for patients, but it is our job as politicians to properly fund it.

It is time to agree a three-year budget and immediately invest an extra £1 billion in our health service.

Workers and families are facing really hard times because of the cost-of-living crisis.

This demands our immediate action, not protest.

Mr Speaker, This is our hour of decision!

Not tomorrow, and not for a moment longer can the DUP deny democracy, punish the public and boycott this Assembly and Executive, and prevent us from putting money in people’s pockets.

Every party told the electorate they would turn up on Day One. The DUP have failed on Day One!

People and businesses want to have confidence in the future, and it is time to move forward, not backwards.

I and we in Sinn Féin will continue to turn up and work in partnership to deliver for people today, and every day.

Further to my main remarks Mr Speaker, allow me to take this opportunity to thank you for the civility and exercise of restraint that you have encouraged throughout your tenure in the role of Speaker helping moderate better community relations inside, and also importantly outside of this chamber, in the community.

Your decades of dedicated public service leave a legacy for which many politicians would be rightly proud.

Thank you."

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