MP rejects Direct Rule as churches meet SoS

Foyle MP Elisha McCallion outside The European Parliament.
Foyle MP Elisha McCallion outside The European Parliament.

Foyle Sinn Féin MP Elisha McCallion has said any move towards imposing Direct Rule on the north will be unacceptable.

The Derry politician was speaking during a visit to European Parliament in Brussels yesterday alongside fellow Sinn Féin MPs and deputy leader Michelle O’Neill.

Elisha McCallion said: “Any attempt to impose direct rule from Westminster on the north in the absence of power-sharing is unacceptable to Sinn Féin. It would be bad faith, flying in the face of the St Andrew’s Agreement which removed the ability of the British government to impose direct rule.

“It would also represent a complete abandonment of the Good Friday Agreement on the part of the British government at the behest of the DUP.”

Speaking as campaigners prepared to mark 1,000 days since devolution was suspended this Sunday, she added: “In the absence of power-sharing at Stormont, there needs to be joint rule involving the Irish government in line with the St Andrew’s Agreement.

“If the British government is intent on casting these agreements aside then the people of the north Ireland should be offered the chance to have their say on their future, in line with the Good Friday Agreement, in a referendum on Irish unity.”

Meanwhile the leaders of Ireland’s main Christian churches, following a meeting with Secretary of State Julian Smith, highlighted their “strong concerns” regarding the Stormont impasse, Brexit and abortion legislation.

Catholic Archbishop Eamon Martin and his counterparts, in a joint statement, said: “We discussed with him the urgent need for the NI Executive and Assembly to address issues such as welfare reform mitigations, health and education policy, as well as the urgent economic and wider issues surrounding Brexit. We believe that our Northern Ireland political parties have it in their own hands to do something about this. They all need to take risks, especially for the most vulnerable in society, and make the compromises necessary to find an accommodation that will restore the devolved institutions.”