Sinn Féin MP denies ‘rolling over’ on legacy and marriage

Conor Murphy.''Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Conor Murphy.''Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye

Sinn Féin MP and negotiator Conor Murphy has denied his party “rolled over” on the issue of same-sex marriage and legacy inquests during the talks with the DUP.

In an interview for the BBC Radio Ulster programme ‘Inside Politics’, Mr Murphy defended his party’s record in the talks.

Asked outright whether Sinn Féin had “rolled over” when it came to same-sex marriage, Mr Murphy said: “No, we didn’t, and bear in mind people who were involved in the equal marriage campaign had said publicly, on many occasions, that they didn’t want their issue to be a red line. But nonetheless, we did pursue.

“The DUP have a manifesto position, in which they pledged to oppose equal marriage. We had a position where a bill, a private members bill, would be brought to the Assembly.”

He continued: “It would be allowed to run its course rather than being blocked initially, to get full debate. And of course the DUP don’t have the numbers to mount a petition of concern.”

Mr Murphy also defended a deal his party leader, Mary Lou McDonald, said had been reached with the British government in terms of mechanisms to deal with killings during the Troubles.

Ms McDonald had said Sinn Féin had been given “a commitment from the British government to put to consultation the legacy mechanisms agreed at Stormont House and release the funding requested by the Lord Chief Justice for coroner’s courts.”

Mr Murhpy told the radio programme: “That’s what we’ve been pressing for. The purpose of consultation is to establish the legislation. The consultation is necessary in order to get the legislation.”