Sinn Fein suggests Irish re-unification is ‘the next phase of the peace process’ whilst the DUP briefs foreign press corps on ‘threat of a hard border’

Sinn Fein has spoken of the need to “begin planning for the next phase of the peace process, and preparing for a new, agreed Ireland”.

By Adam Kula
Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 7:11 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd June 2022, 2:27 pm

In an article in party paper An Phoblacht, Sinn Fein chairman Declan Kearney simultaneously stressed the need for Northern Irish devolution and the need for all-island re-unification.

He addressed the current machinations around the Protocol, with the Tory government (with DUP support) drafting a bill aimed at suspending or nullifying aspects of the deal.

‘WORST CRISIS SINCE 1998’:

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A Sinn Fein mural in west Belfast

Mr Kearney said: “Make no mistake; this is the deepest political crisis since the GFA was endorsed by the people of Ireland.

“The gravity of the unfolding situation should not be underestimated.

“The foundations and primacy of international law and treaties are being fundamentally challenged and undermined.

“The Tories and the DUP have repeatedly shown that they respect neither.

“They have put themselves beyond the pale in terms of respect for all recognised international conventions...

“Left unchecked, it is a course which will destroy power sharing.

“That is unacceptable and must be opposed by all strands of democratic opinion in Ireland and internationally.”

But whilst supporting the idea of devolved power-sharing, a couple of lines later he voiced support for Irish re-unification.

He said: “Previously unimaginable opportunities are emerging in Ireland. Momentous change with the scale and significance of decades has been happening.

“The political landscape has changed irreversibly. The momentum for positive, progressive change is unstoppable.

“We have arrived at a new historic moment. It is time to begin planning for the next phase of the peace process, and preparing for a new, agreed Ireland.”

...MEANWHILE DUP SETS SIGHTS ON INTERNATIONAL AUDIENCE:

Meanwhile today, the DUP said that its leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has briefed the Foreign Press Association about why it is continuing to boycott Stormont until it sees action on the Protocol.

The association helps co-ordinate the international media in London with things like press accreditation, and boasts hundreds of members from Fox News to Al Jazeera.

In a post-briefing statement, Sir Jeffrey said: “We operate power-sharing in Northern Ireland, not majority rule.

“Not one unionist MLA supports the Protocol. That represents 42% of the votes cast at the recent Assembly election...

“Those who criticise the NI Protocol Bill focus on international law.

“Yet in fawning over the NI Protocol, they close their eyes to the Belfast Agreement’s commitment to the consent principle.

“The Belfast Agreement and its successors are international agreements, yet the NI Protocol has now removed the spine of those agreements – which was cross community consent.”

He added: “Maros Sefcovic said ‘there can be no renegotiation’ on 13 June and 22 May 2022. We have arrived at this point due to EU intransigence.

“The retaliatory threat from the EU to prevent Northern Ireland businesses having access to their single market suggests they are preparing to create a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

“How is this consistent with their claim that they want to protect the Good Friday Agreement?”