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No Executive without equality and respect: Sinn Féin warns

January 16, 2017

Several hundred people attended a meeting in Newry on Wednesday evening where they heard local Sinn Fein representatives place the blame for the current political crisis at Stormont on DUP arrogance amid allegations of unionist “corruption, malpractice and incompetence”.

Assembly member Conor Murphy told those gathered that powersharing is based on equality, rights and respect, which cannot be corrupted; nor can those involved in government be associated with corruption.

“These are basic and fundamental principles without which no Executive will be formed,” he said.

The meeting was one of a series of similar type gatherings which Sinn Féin has organised throughout Ireland to keep members and activists fully informed of the ongoing situation.

Nationalist and republican expectations of and confidence in the political institutions has nosedived as a result of this and also as a result of allegations of unionist corruption, malpractice and incompetence”.

Speaking on the resignation of Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, Mr Murphy said: “Sinn Féin has kept faith with the political institutions because we are mandated to do so.  For almost ten years Martin McGuinness and our Assembly team have navigated a way through a number of crises and scandals caused by the DUP.  A lot of good work has been done by the Executive and the Assembly and significant progress has been made on many issues, including on cross border and all-Ireland matters.  Nobody more than Martin McGuinness has shown leadership and reached out to make political progress.”

Mr Murphy says McGuinness’ decision to resign “was not taken lightly” and added “but it is clear the political institutions in the north have become unsustainable”.

“The RHI scandal, and the manner in which the DUP has handled it, has significantly deepened a crisis that already existed,” he said.

“The Fresh Start agreement, negotiated one year ago, was meant to signal a renewed commitment to powersharing based on mutual respect and equality.  Instead through their arrogance and contempt the DUP have further undermined the political process and degraded the political institutions.  Nationalist and republican expectations of and confidence in the political institutions has nosedived as a result of this and also as a result of allegations of unionist corruption, malpractice and incompetence.”

Stating that the current crisis demands all of the outstanding issues to be comprehensively delivered upon, he continued: “We in Sinn Féin are not prepared to confer legitimacy upon political institutions which are being undermined.  The process and principles of the Good Friday Agreement cannot be set to the side at the whim of the DUP.  The political institutions upon which the political process is based must reflect equality, parity of esteem and mutual respect.”

On the subject of an imminent election, Mr Murphy added, “The crisis cannot be dealt with in the immediate term.  An election is therefore likely and will probably be followed by lengthy negotiations.  The deepening political crisis demands that all of these issues are now finally and comprehensively delivered upon by all parties and the British and Irish governments.”

Addressing the audience, party colleague Megan Fearon pointed out that political accountability, opposition to austerity, defence of public services, stimulating economic growth and entrenchment of equality, social justice and democratic rights must be at the heart of the political institutions.

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