Sinn Fein accuses government of '˜bad faith' over statute of limitations

Sinn Fein has accused the government of 'bad faith' after representatives from the party held a meeting with Theresa May this morning.

Tuesday, 21st November 2017, 12:40 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 10:55 am
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

A delegation including SF President Gerry Adams, deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald, northern leader Michelle O’Neill, Elisha McCallion MP and Conor Murphy MLA held discussions with the prime minister at Downing Street, which the party described as “very robust and frank”.

In a statement, Mrs O’Neill said it had emerged this morning that the government intends to include a statute of limitations covering all Troubles related incidents for British crown forces in a new section in their consultation on the Stormont House Agreement Bill.

She added: “Such a proposition is no part of the Stormont House Agreement and despite being involved for the last ten months in negotiations with British officials Sinn Féin was never informed of this intention.

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“We understand the Irish government was not informed either until we brought it to their attention.

“We told Mrs May that this is an act of bad faith and is unacceptable”.

Meanwhile, the SF delegation told Mrs May that the government “must bear the greater responsibility” for the failure to reach agreement on the restoration of the Stormont institutions.

She added: “The provision of an Irish language act, marriage equality, a Bill of Rights and funding for legacy inquests are all British government obligations.

“Progress is only possible if her government honours those commitments.”

Mrs O’Neill said the republican party also told the prime minister that direct rule “is not an option” and that she “must look to the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement for the establishment of an intergovernmental conference involving the Irish and British governments”.

The delegation also raised the issue of Brexit, with Mrs O’Neill concluding: “We challenged Mrs May to spell out how she believes a so-called seamless and frictionless border is possible. Sinn Féin believes this is only possible if the north is given a special status within the European Union.”