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  • Writer's pictureGreg O'Loughlin

O’Neill calls on US to uphold Good Friday Agreement during Washington visit

First Minister designate Michelle O’Neill MLA was in Washington this week for a series of meetings with representatives of the US Administration, Congressional Members, and Irish American Leaders.

Traveling with a delegation that included Ciaran Quinn, Sinn Féin Representative to the US, and her Chief of Staff Stephen McGlade, the Sinn Féin Leas-Uachtarán (Vice President) briefed senior US politicians on political events in Ireland since the historic May election and on the need to immediately restore all the political institutions of the Good Friday Agreement.

Michelle O’Neill said:

“Having travelled to Brussels, Dublin and London since our historic election in May, this is my first visit to Washington. I emphasised the value of the relationship with the United States who remain a critical partner for peace and progress.

“I met with politicians, diplomats and business leaders to discuss fact that the majority of people voted for change, and there is a strong commitment from a majority of newly elected MLAs and Assembly parties to work together and make politics work so we can deliver for the whole community.

“The continued stand-off by the DUP who are denying the public the democratic representation and leadership they are entitled to cannot continue. The political cover by the Tories must be robustly challenged. The Good Friday Agreement must be both applied and upheld in full.

“We need to form a Government and set a budget to help give relief to families and workers who face a huge burden come autumn with the rising cost of living on households.

“It is important that all those in the US who value the close political, economic and cultural bonds with the island of Ireland understand what is now at stake after a quarter century of peace and stability.

“It is vital that we underscore the reckless actions of the British government who are trying to sabotage our political agreements through their anti-good Friday agreement agenda which is disingenuously dressed up in a pro-agreement rhetoric.

“They have abandoned victims and survivors and taken a fundamental departure away from the Stormont House Agreement by legislating unilaterally in order to protect the interests of the British State itself.

“They are legislating to breach international law and denounce the Protocol which limits the impact of their hard Brexit on society and business here, and prevents a hard border.

“The Protocol is supported by a majority of MLAs because it is working, and gives us access to the EU single market which is helping business export, create more jobs and economic success.

“They do this at a time of major conflict in Europe.

“The actions of the Tory party in Westminster have demonstrated they are an untrustworthy partner in Ireland and internationally. Their actions remain a challenge to all who value our agreements.

“Now is the time to assert the primacy of politics, the honouring of agreements, and respect for international law which protects the all-island economy and prevents a hard border on the island of Ireland.”

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