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Michelle O’Neill Returned as Joint Head of Government – Unionist Disarray Deepens


Sinn Féin Deputy President Michelle O'Neill


Today Michelle O’Neill Deputy President of Sinn Féin was returned to the position of Joint head of Government in the North of Ireland. She shares the office with newly appointed Paul Givan of the Democratic Unionist Party.


A return to the office was made possible only after Sinn Fein was successful in seeing key elements of the January 2020 New Decade, New Approach agreement implemented after continued refusal by the DUP to follow through on commitments they agreed on previously.

Late last night, at the urging of Sinn Féin, the British Government agreed to process the necessary legislation at Westminster.


Speaking about this breakthrough Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald said,


“We told the British government that this is the only viable option to deliver these rights as the DUP were unwilling and incapable of delivering on their commitments.


“Irish speakers have been waiting for fifteen years for basic rights and recognition to be delivered. This is important for Irish language speakers and wider society because power-sharing is based on inclusion, respect, and equality.”




The DUP leader Edwin Poots ignored calls from some in his party who objected to the developments and who refused to endorse the nomination of Paul Givan, who is now the joint leader of the Government. At the time of writing Mr. Poots is facing calls to be sanctioned from within his own party.


This chaos has come about because of the refusal of the DUP to acknowledge and respect the rights of others and a belief that they are not bound by their agreements and obligations.


When accepting the nomination as Joint Head of Government Michelle O’Neill said,


“On the issue of rights – we have seen the DUP resist these. I don’t expect that to change. I will work with other parties in this Assembly and Executive towards achieving a progressive social reform agenda for women, children, Irish language speakers, newcomer communities.


There is a requirement under the Good Friday Agreement for equivalent standards of protection of rights on the island, North and South. And the Governments as co-guarantors of that Agreement, have a responsibility to act when this Assembly cannot.”


Tomorrow the joint leaders are expected to host a meeting with their counterparts from the Dublin government.

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