O’Neill to urge US administration to press British government to halt irresponsible political drift
First Minister Designate Michelle O’Neill is travelling to Washington on Monday morning to meet with senior US officials and members of Congress to update them on the current political situation in the north.
Michelle O’Neill will urge the US to continue to press the British Prime Minister during his visit this week to prioritise restoration of the Assembly and Executive and progress the working of the Good Friday Agreement.
Speaking ahead of her visit to Washington, Michelle O’Neill said the British government’s wait and see approach to the continued DUP boycott of the Assembly and Executive was lax, complacent and irresponsible. Their approach was undermining the operation of the Good Friday Agreement.
She said, “I am travelling to Washington this week to meet with senior US officials and politicians on Capitol Hill to update them on the current situation in the north following the outcome of the recent historic council elections.
“The public have now spoken in two elections over the last year.
“They have sent a clear signal they want parties working together around the Executive table delivering for all. They want the Good Friday Agreement implemented.
“They want an Executive investing in health and public services, supporting workers, families and businesses through the cost of living crisis and maximising the economic opportunities of our unique access to two of the largest markets in the world.
“The continuing refusal by one party to form an Executive is hampering progress. It is resulting in public services being left at the mercy of savage and heartless Tory cuts from London and those who work in them being denied fair pay rises.
“The British government’s response to this boycott of our political institutions is lax, complacent and irresponsible. There is no sense of urgency. It has stalled the operation of the Good Friday Agreement and is leading to political drift. That must stop.
“The United States has been a key partner for peace in Ireland for decades, and steadfast supporters of the Good Friday Agreement and I value that continued commitment.
“We will be urging the US Administration to impress on the British Prime Minister during his visit to Washington this week to start working with their partners in the Irish government to prioritise restoration and the full implementation of the Agreements without any more delay. There is an onus on the two governments to realise the promise and potential of the Good Friday Agreement and its institutions.
“The negotiation between London and Brussels on the protocol is done. The elections are over. The public have sent a clear signal. And it’s now time for government to be formed and to seize the enormous economic opportunities now open to us which was highlighted by President Biden during his historic visit to Ireland.
“Sinn Féin is ready to start that work today. I will once again set out my absolute determination to be a First Minister for All, and to co-operate and work with the other parties to support workers and families. It is what people want and deserve.
“The British government by its inaction cannot give the DUP a veto over the operation of the Good Friday Agreement. The governments must act in partnership to realise the opportunities for progress, prosperity and reconciliation. There can simply be no more delays.”