Michelle O’Neill: Form a ‘just and sustainable’ powersharing administration

2 December 2019, 14:14

Michelle O'Neill
Sinn Fein Ard Fheis 2019. Picture: PA

Talks on restoring devolution are due to begin immediately after the General Election.

Sinn Fein has called for a just and sustainable powersharing administration at Stormont.

Talks on restoring devolution are due to begin immediately after the General Election.

More than 10,000 outpatient appointments and surgeries were cancelled in Belfast on Monday amid industrial action by health workers disgruntled over pay and staffing levels.

Sinn Fein deputy leader Michelle O’Neill said public services should be properly funded.

She said: “Confidence in the politics of the North is broken and we need to rebuild that confidence and the way to do that is to honour previous agreements, the way to do that is actually for us all to work together.”

Sinn Fein wants action on what it terms equality issues, like enshrining use of the Irish language into law, protection of welfare payments, and reforms to how the Stormont Assembly operates to make it harder to veto laws.

General Election 2019
Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill (left) and Mary Lou McDonald at the launch of the party’s General Election manifesto in Londonderry (Niall Carson/PA)

DUP leader Arlene Foster has taken steps to meet Irish speakers and has said her party is ready to quickly return to government while addressing outstanding issues.

Ms O’Neill said: “We want a successful conclusion to that talks process. We have always stood ready to re-form the Executive, we believe in the Assembly and the Executive because we believe in the promise of the Good Friday Agreement, the hope, but that is going to take all political parties working together.

“That is going to mean that we need to see delivery on the outstanding issues.

“That is going to mean re-forming an Executive that is both sustainable and credible.

“So I hope that the other parties want to get around the table again, we hope that they want to form an Executive, but it must be a just Executive and it must be credible.”

Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith is due to lead a fresh bid to break the deadlock later this month.

Ms O’Neill said: “We stand ready to conclude the talks process, to find a positive resolution, to find a just Executive, one that actually tackles the issues that people actually want us to tackle, one that takes on and funds properly public services, one that has a strong economic strategy, one that actually supports rural communities, one that actually deals with the mitigation measures that we need to bring forward to deal with the Tory welfare reform issues, which we know are devastating communities.”

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