DUP First Minister Resigns - Good Friday Agreement Institutions on Verge of Collapse
After months of threats, the DUP First Minister has resigned citing the opposition to the Irish Protocol.
The Protocol is the outworking of Brexit and in place to prevent a hard border in Ireland. It is an agreement between the British Government and the EU. It is international law. It will remain. The majority of parties and businesses support its continued operation.
The DUP is failing in the polls and an election is set for the beginning of May.
The negotiations between the British Government and the EU to refine the protocol continues. The British Government has sought to use unionist opposition as leverage in these negotiations and encouraged DUP and Unionist opposition.
Speaking after the DUP’s Paul Givan resigned as First Minister Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald said:
“The Executive and Assembly have work to do. This is not the time for reckless behavior from the DUP. We are emerging from the pandemic and we need to focus on addressing health waiting lists, tackling the rising costs of living, and rebuilding the economy. The public wants to see us working together to prioritize these issues.
“For more than a year now the DUP have brought the turmoil, chaos, and dysfunction playing out in their party to the very heart of government. The British government’s stance has encouraged this.
Today’s decision for Paul Givan to resign from the Executive is all about their own narrow and self-serving political interests. It is also about the loss of the unionist electoral majority and the reality that they can no longer get everything their way.
It is also about Brexit and the protocol. The facts are clear – the protocol is essential. It is here to stay. The British government is in a flagrant breach of international law and there is a huge onus on the Irish government to hold London to account and seek international support for this.
“The Executive and Assembly have work to do and Michelle O’Neill has contacted the other party leaders to meet to ensure that any legislation that can be dealt with proceeds as quickly as possible.
However we need to be clear the DUP actions have consequences – consequences for people struggling with the cost of living, consequences for businesses trying to rebuild after covid, consequences for health services. It is disgraceful that the budget now won’t be passed and that investment in services such as cancer care and mental health are now in jeopardy.
“We cannot stagger on in the months ahead without a functioning Executive. Sinn Féin will not facilitate this. In the absence of a functioning Executive, an early election must be called.
“This is a defining moment. We can do so much better than this. Power-sharing can work if the parties involved are committed to it. Good government can deliver and that is what all of the other parties want to see happen.
“Today’s behavior of the DUP shows that it is time for real change and this includes constitutional change as set out in the Good Friday Agreement.”