This year is a decade of opportunity for the island of Ireland – our decision to re-enter the power-sharing institutions and nominate ministers to an Executive is just the start.
The new agreement also includes an opportunity to tackle historical regional imbalance and transform Derry and the north west. It includes proposals for the expansion of Magee University, including a graduate entry Medical School and new student places. This is a fantastic development and comes after a united approach from this city in putting this firmly on the political agenda. For our part, Sinn Féin made it a priority and continually raised it in all our dealing with British ministers, including prime ministers, and with the Irish government. We now look forward to seeing this come to fruition.
Derry has waited too long. Bringing an end to historic regional disparity will be a priority for Sinn Féin, we have already made progress through the delivery of the A6 road.
The commitment to delivering improved mental health and crisis intervention services are also welcome, particularly in areas like Derry. But there is work to be done.
This agreement includes a commitment to repair the damage of Tory austerity, deal with the crisis in the health service and support our teachers. The most significant challenge will be ensuring that we have genuine power sharing based on equality, respect and integrity, and with political will that can be achieved.
I believe that the power sharing government can work. That requires everyone to step up.
Sinn Féin’s commitment is to do all in our power to make this happen. Together, we can build a better society and transform Derry.