Francie Molloy, Sinn Fein MP for Mid-Ulster, last night warned of the dangers facing those supportive of the Good Friday Agreement by a growing anti-agreement axis which includes Unionist parties such as the Democratic Unionist Party and David Cameron’s Conservative Party led government.
Speaking at a public briefing session organised by Cairde na hEireann Liverpool to Irish community activists, local politicians and trade unionists at St Michaels Irish Centre, Francie Molloy stated:
In summary, in the Six Counties we currently have a serious political impasse and an economic and budgetary crisis.
A political crisis caused by a growing unionist rejection of the Good Friday Agreement and its values. A refusal being facilitated by the London government.
And an economic and budgetary crisis caused by the austerity policies of that same government in London.
Including their demand that we implement welfare cuts.
We have seen the evidence of how works in this country and our party will not being inflicting that on all our communities.
These crises have now converged. The economic and political situation is both untenable and unsustainable.
The Stormont talks are taking place in the absence of a credible process or the required political momentum. Sinn Féin believes both are required to ensure a comprehensive and successful outcome is achieved.
The backdrop to these talks over the last two years has been an undermining of power-sharing and partnership government; rejection of the Haass compromise proposals by the British Government and political unionism, increased political instability and street disturbances; British Government economic austerity policies and proposed welfare cuts; and the emergence of a unionist anti-agreement axis which has had a disproportionate and adverse influence over the political process.
Progress to date, has been hampered by
DUP preconditions, aimed at narrowing the talks agenda;
Negative mismanagement of the political process by the British Government since 2010, and attempting to act as a facilitator rather than a talks participant;
The passive approach of the Irish Government towards the political process in recent years, and failure to assert its status as a co-equal guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) since these talks commenced.
Consequently the political framework established by the GFA and other Agreements, the political process itself, and the viability of the actual political institutions are now directly threatened.
There is a real danger that the present impasse will be subsumed by a long-term political vacuum. In such circumstances political instability could become irreversible, with profound ramifications for the integrity of Irish democracy.
An urgent need exists for pro-agreement and democratic opinion to mobilise now in defence of the GFA and peace and political processes. A pro-agreement axis is necessary to encourage political momentum, and ensure a substantive and successful negotiation is achieved.
Sinn Féin is committed to a ‘Plan A Plus’ outcome predicated upon:
A substantial economic and fiscal reconstruction plan;
Unconditional support for power-sharing and partnership government based upon GFA principles;
And, the implementation of all extant commitments made under the GFA; all other agreements since, as well as the Programme for Government; to include
Implementation of a Bill of Rights
Implementation of Acht na Gaeilge
Reestablishment of a Civic Forum
Establishment of an All-Ireland Consultative Forum
Implementation of the Haass compromise proposals
These are essential to break the political gridlock, facilitate political progress, and to complete the transition to a shared future, and an end to sectarianism, segregation and division.