Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Change policy or new SoS “will fail like the others” warns Murphy

 A change in British Secretary of State will end in failure if it is not accompanied by a change in British government policy in the north, Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Conor Murphy has warned.

The Newry Armagh MLA was speaking after Julian Smith was appointed the Secretary of State for the North when new Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his cabinet.

“The major problem within the NIO is the policy it implements rather than the personality that fronts it,” Mr Murphy said.

“If Julian Smith continues to follow flawed and failed policies then he will fail like the previous incumbent and the one before that.  Unfortunately, Julian Smith doesn’t exactly inspire confidence given that his only interest in the North to date seems to have been to attend the DUP conference.  What we need to see is a change of approach from the British Government.

“Successive British administrations have refused to honour agreements or to resolve the issues of the past while imposing austerity and Brexit against the wishes and best interests of the people.  Boris Johnson’s party abandoned the rigorous impartiality demanded by the Good Friday Agreement in order to enter into a self-serving pact with the DUP.  That has proved to be a toxic partnership for our political process with the British Government acquiescing to a denial of rights and equality that would never be tolerated in their own country.

“A change in these failed policies is what is now required and it is long past time that the British Government began taking its obligations to the peace and political process in Ireland seriously.  This requires the implementation of past agreements and an end to the DUP’s veto on rights and equality which is preventing the restoration of the power-sharing institutions.”