Sinn Féin vice-president Michelle O'Neill: Westminster is source of Brexit problem, now we must find Irish solution
BREXIT is the core issue.
Voters have the chance to again reject Brexit, reject the DUP and reject the Tories.
They will also have the chance to vote for a better future; not bounded or constrained by Brexit.
The Brexit debacle has shown Westminster does not and will not act in the interests of the people of Ireland. Westminster is the source of the Brexit problem. We need an Irish solution.
Brexit threatens our economy. Brexit threatens the Good Friday Agreement and the progress we have made as a society.
It is why we fought in Brussels, in Dublin, in Washington and in London to ensure the Good Friday Agreement is protected.
Through our strength and political influence we have delivered on our commitment to protect the Good Friday Agreement, to prevent any hardening of the border, to prevent a unionist veto over our future relationship with Europe and defend the all-island economy.
We also have commitments from the Speaker of the US House of Representatives that there would be no post-Brexit trade deal between the US and Britain if the Good Friday Agreement is undermined.
The voice of the people of the north of Ireland has been heard loud and clear where it matters and where it counts, in Brussels, in Dublin and in Washington.
I have also taken the initiative in working in partnership with the other progressive parties and led pro-Remain delegations to London and Brussels.
While Westminster tears itself apart trying to agree the British negotiating position, Sinn Féin puts our efforts and influence into supporting the Irish and European negotiating team.
Of course Brexit is not the only challenge we face at present.
The absence of the assembly and executive at Stormont is unacceptable and unsustainable.
We want to see those institutions reestablished.
After the election there is a short window to successfully conclude the talks which the two governments started back in April. This week we met the taoiseach and tánaiste in Dublin to emphasise the need to urgently conclude those talks.
A restored Executive, to be credible, must deliver on issues such as public sector pay, safe staffing levels in the health service, economic policies that deliver prosperity and invest in rural communities, and an appropriate welfare mitigation package.
The outstanding issues must be dealt with including an Irish language act, reform of the petition of concern, the legacy of the past and integrity in government.
I believe they can be resolved if there is the political will to do so.
A strong mandate for Sinn Féin will strengthen our hand in the upcoming negotiations and in defending Ireland from the worst effects of Westminster’s Brexit agenda.
The DUP don’t speak for the majority of people in the north. Electing pro-remain candidates will give a voice to the majority and expose the false claims of the DUP on Brexit.
On December 12 you can vote for a future for the island of Ireland, beyond the Tories and their Brexit, an agreed, inclusive and united Ireland, a society based on rights, respect and in which we welcome and celebrate the diversity of our people.