Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has claimed the DUP put forward a ‘Culture Act’ to encompass the Irish language, Ulster-Scots and an Armed Forces Covenant, a proposal Sinn Féin rejected.
Mr Adams made the claim in a statement to the Dáil yesterday. He described the DUP proposal as “a piece of meaningless legislation with no legislative authority, no strategy, no power, no funding, no teeth”.
The Sinn Féin leader said: “Regrettably the DUP’s approach throughout the talks was to engage in a minimalist way on all of these key issues. There was no substantive progress on any matter.
“A DUP proposal to introduce a so-called Culture Act is a case in point. This was to encompass the Irish language; Ulster Scots and a British Armed Forces Covenant.
“The linking of the Irish language and Ulster Scots to the British Army was entirely inappropriate. While Sinn Féin has no difficulty with supporting Ulster Scots – it has been a part of our culture for 400 years – what was and is required is a stand-alone Irish language act.”
Mr Adams also urged the Irish government to become more involved in the talks process in Northern Ireland. He said: “In a situation in which the British government acts as a drag on the negotiations, and fuels DUP negativity, the onus on the Irish government, as a co-equal guarantor to defend the integrity of the Good Friday Agreement, is even greater than ever.”
That view was echoed by another Sinn Féin TD, Mary Lou McDonald, who went even further in her language as she urged the Irish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan, to “exert some authority and influence on his counterparts”.
Mr Adams also restated his party’s position that it would be an act of “bad faith” if Secretary of State James Brokenshire were to bring forward legislation to introduce direct rule.
“Mr Brokenshire has only one option and that is to call an election,” Mr Adams said.
“There is no legal basis for any other course of action.”
The DUP were asked to comment on the ‘Culture Act’ proposals referred to by Mr Adams but had yet to do so at the time of going to press.