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Action not 'fluffy words' needed on Irish language legislation, Michelle O'Neill says

Irish language activists put their message across at Stormont. Picture by Mal McCann

Michelle O'Neill has said she needs more than "fluffy words" from DUP leader Edwin Poots on implementing Irish language legislation.

Addressing a media conference at Stormont, Ms O'Neill was again non-committal on whether her party would participate in the nomination process required to install Paul Givan as first minister next week.

She said her party leader Mary Lou McDonald was seeking talks with Mr Poots either later today or tomorrow to discuss the issues.

Ms O'Neill said she was ready "to do business" with the DUP but insisted it had to be on the basis of delivery of the outstanding elements of the New Decade, New Approach deal, including on Irish language protections.

Asked about Mr Poots' assurances that he will fulfil the DUP's commitments under NDNA, Ms O'Neill said: "I've noted with interest the words from Edwin Poots where he talks about that he's a man of his word or talks about he'll deliver all the New Decade, New Approach commitments.

"I'll hold him to that word, very much I'll hold them to that word.

"But I want to see more than words, I want to see action. I want to see delivery. I want to see it demonstrated, I need more than just fluffy words."

Michelle O'Neill said she did not know Paul Givan very well, noting that they had never served on an Assembly committee together in their time as MLAs.

"But regardless of who is the DUP nomination, I'll work with all the political parties and all the individuals in good faith," she added.

"I think that's important. If we are going to share power together and we're going to govern together, then we must do so on the basis of respect for each other, that we must do so on the basis of delivery for the citizens that are sitting today facing issues such as out of control waiting lists, the public want us to work together to deal with those things.

"But the public also want political agreements to be honoured, they want whenever we make commitments to them that we actually see them through.

"So I will engage with all the political parties, including Edwin Poots and Paul Givan and others, to make politics work, because that's what I'm committed to doing."

She added: "I don't think the public will be in any doubt in my commitment to making powersharing work. I'm here to do business."

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