Sinn Féin First Minister designate Michelle O'Neill to urge US to help stop 'irresponsible political drift'

First Minister Designate Michelle O’Neill is meeting with senior US officials and members of Congress this week to update them on the current political situation in the north.
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Michelle O’Neill flew to Washington DC on Monday and is set to urge the American government to continue to press the British Prime Minister during his visit this week to prioritise restoration of the Assembly and Executive and progress the working of the Good Friday Agreement.

Speaking ahead of her visit to Washington, Michelle O’Neill branded the British government’s approach to the continued DUP boycott of the Assembly and Executive one of ‘wait and see’, which she said was ‘lax, complacent and irresponsible’.

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That approach was undermining the operation of the Good Friday Agreement, she claimed, adding:

First Minister-Elect Michelle O'Neill pictured earlier this year speaking during an event at the National Press Club back in March in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)First Minister-Elect Michelle O'Neill pictured earlier this year speaking during an event at the National Press Club back in March in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
First Minister-Elect Michelle O'Neill pictured earlier this year speaking during an event at the National Press Club back in March in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

“I am travelling to Washington this week to meet with senior US officials and politicians on Capitol Hill to update them on the current situation in the north following the outcome of the recent historic council elections.

“The public have now spoken in two elections over the last year. They have sent a clear signal they want parties working together around the Executive table delivering for all. They want the Good Friday Agreement implemented.

“They want an Executive investing in health and public services, supporting workers, families and businesses through the cost of living crisis and maximising the economic opportunities of our unique access to two of the largest markets in the world.

“The continuing refusal by one party to form an Executive is hampering progress. It is resulting in public services being left at the mercy of savage and heartless Tory cuts from London and those who work in them being denied fair pay rises," Ms O’Neill claimed.

“The United States has been a key partner for peace in Ireland for decades, and steadfast supporters of the Good Friday Agreement and I value that continued commitment.

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“We will be urging the US Administration to impress on the British Prime Minister during his visit to Washington this week to start working with their partners in the Irish government to prioritise restoration and the full implementation of the Agreements without any more delay. There is an onus on the two governments to realise the promise and potential of the Good Friday Agreement and its institutions.

“The negotiation between London and Brussels on the protocol is done. The elections are over. The public have sent a clear signal. And it’s now time for government to be formed and to seize the enormous economic opportunities now open to us which was highlighted by President Biden during his historic visit to Ireland.

“Sinn Féin is ready to start that work today. I will once again set out my absolute determination to be a First Minister for All, and to co-operate and work with the other parties to support workers and families. It is what people want and deserve.

"There can simply be no more delays.”