Refusal to enter talks ‘a betrayal of GFA’ - Eastwood and Martin

SDLP leader Colm Eastwood MLA and Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin TD.
SDLP leader Colm Eastwood MLA and Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin TD.

The leaders of the SDLP and Fianna Fáil have called on all parties to embrace the spirit of power-sharing which led to the Good Friday Agreement 21 years ago.

Speaking on the anniversary of the signing of the Agreement on Wednesday, Colum Eastwood and Micheál Martin branded what they termed the “failure” to deal with the crises in health, education and Brexit in the North a “betrayal of the Agreement and those who voted for it”.

The SDLP and Fianna Fáil leaders in a joint statement said: “We have just emerged from a year long celebration and commemoration of the scale of what was achieved in the signing of the Good Friday Agreement 21 years ago today.

“The warm words of partnership and reconciliation, however, find themselves clashing uncomfortably with the raw reality of political failure today.

“Tens of thousands of people waiting for hospital beds, a crisis in school funding leading principals to ask for donations to fund pens and paper and the disaster of Brexit thundering down the tracks. Is that what people were promised? Is that what the people of Ireland voted for?

“Those who refuse to engage in meaningful negotiations to restore government and to deal with these issues are engaged in a betrayal of the Good Friday Agreement and all those who voted for it.

“All parties should embrace the spirit of Good Friday and come together to resolve our differences and deliver on the promise and potential of power-sharing.”