Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 47 Number 11, June 14, 2017 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

General Election 2017

The Irish Question

Gerry Adams with the newly-elected Sinn Féin MPs

The British government is negotiating with the DUP so that it can form a majority within the British Parliament and form the government. However, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has set the record straight that there is nothing to negotiate with the DUP. The approach of the British government to the talks in the north is self-serving and neither neutral nor impartial, Adams pointed out. He clearly explained that the political institutions must be established on the basis of previously agreed to terms contained in the Good Friday Agreement. Nothing less will be accepted.

Sinn Féin won seven seats in the election but refuses to take its seats in Westminster because it does not recognise British rule over the north of Ireland and refuses to swear allegiance to the Queen.

Speaking the day after the election on the outcome of the Westminster election campaign, Gerry Adams said:

"I want to commend Michelle O'Neill [leader of Sinn Féin in the north of Ireland] and our northern team, including all of our candidates and their families for their outstanding performance in the election. We increased our vote in every constituency.

"This was a truly national effort by Sinn Féin and I want to thank all of our activists who travelled from all parts of the island to help secure this historic result for the party.

"Sinn Féin respects the mandate we have received and our electorate who voted in such huge numbers.

"Nationalists and Republicans have turned their back on Westminster and accept that that centre of political gravity is now on the island of Ireland.

"The Taoiseach and DUP need to focus on restoring the political institutions.

"Theresa May sought a mandate for Brexit, austerity and the erosion of human rights. She got her comeuppance.

"The Irish government needs to seize the initiative to secure designated special status for the North as part of the Brexit negotiations."

In subsequent remarks Adams said:

"This was a highly successful election for Sinn Féin.

"We are here today to seek agreement to re-establish the Executive and the institutions on the basis of equality, respect and rights for all.

"This could and should be done by implementing what has already been agreed.

"The British government is not neutral or impartial. Their approach to talks is entirely self-serving.

"Any deal with the DUP and the Tories will not be to the benefit of the people of the north, our economy, our public services or securing designated special status for the north within the EU.

"We need the progressive parties to work together.

"We need a strong counter balance to the Tory Party and the DUP."

Commenting on remarks by Enda Kenny, the outgoing Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of the Republic of Ireland, following Kenny's conversation with Theresa May after the election, Adams called on the Irish Government and the incoming Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, to "assert their role to protect the Good Friday and other agreements".

"The Taoiseach is right to express concerns about any deal between the DUP and the Tory party. Sinn Féin's view is that such a deal will not be in the best interests of the people of Ireland, and in particular the people of the north, regardless of their political allegiances.

"The flaw in the Taoiseach's position is his refusal to recognise that the British government has never been impartial or objective in its relationship with Ireland.

"Sinn Féin has never accepted that the British government is impartial or neutral.

"The arrangements to restore the political institutions need not be protracted. The issues are well known, they are rooted in agreements already made, and the onus is clearly on the DUP to drop its opposition to the implementation of the rights-related issues, which are at the core of the current difficulties.

"The period of continuous Tory rule since 2010 has been a constant source of instability for the political process.

"The pro-unionist and partisan nature of this British government has contributed directly to the current deep political crisis in the North.

"If the DUP don't prioritise the restoration of the institutions, and instead decide to become a prop for a dysfunctional minority government in London, then the parties should consider inviting an independent chairperson to oversee proceedings.

"Sinn Féin has already raised this at the beginning of the talks process some months ago."

Gerry Adams made it clear that Sinn Féin "will continue to press ahead for a speedy return to the institutions while monitoring closely the machinations in London".

"On a more positive note the focus by the mainstream British media on the DUP's policies and history is belated but a welcome education for people in Britain," Adams added.


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