O’Neill urges UK and Irish governments to help break Stormont deadlock

Michelle O'Neill and Gerry Adams were part of a SF delegation which travelled to Downing Street this morning
Michelle O'Neill and Gerry Adams were part of a SF delegation which travelled to Downing Street this morning

Sinn Fein leader Michelle O’Neill has called on the UK and Irish governments to intervene in the deadlock at Stormont to act on outstanding issues.

The Executive has not sat since power-sharing between the DUP and Sinn Fein collapsed in January, due to ongoing disagreements around language and cultural issues including over whether to have an Irish language act.

In a statement, Ms O’Neill reiterated her party’s stance that there had been previous agreements for a standalone Irish language act.

She said: “It is now the responsibility of the two governments to look to the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement and for a British-Irish intergovernmental conference to meet as soon as possible.”

She added: “We have sought urgent meetings with both the Taoiseach and the British Prime Minister. The way forward now is for the two governments to fulfil their responsibility as co-guarantors of the Good Friday and St Andrews Agreements, to honour outstanding commitments, and to deliver rights enjoyed by everyone else on these islands to people here.”

Sinn Fein have argued that provisions for a standalone act were agreed in the St Andrews Agreement in 2006.

The DUP remains opposed to a standalone bill and have instead suggested a cross-community bill with provisions for both Irish and Ulster Scots.

Prime Minister Theresa May spoke to the DUP and Sinn Fein leadership in separate phone calls on Friday, during which she insisted that a budget being imposed from Westminster is not tantamount to direct rule, and urged the parties to bridge the gaps which remain between them.