Vacuum in Northern Assembly cannot be allowed to continue in face of Brexit – Brendan Smith

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Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith has called on the Tánaiste and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to reconvene All-Party talks to re-establish the Northern Executive and to get the Assembly back up and running.

Deputy Brendan Smith explained, “It is exactly 2 years since the late Martin McGuinness resigned as Deputy First Minister.  It was a move that led to the collapse of the Executive and the suspension of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

“It is nothing short of an outrage that, two years later, the Northern Ireland Assembly is still not sitting and Northern Ireland does not have an Executive as established under the Good Friday Agreement, overwhelmingly endorsed by the people North and South in referenda.

“While responsibility for the development and escalation of the political crisis in Northern Ireland lies firmly with the two main parties, Sinn Fein and the DUP, the responsibility for re-establishing the Institutions sits with the Irish and British governments as co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement.

“It is a responsibility that unfortunately, the two governments have not fully taken on board in recent times. There has been little or no activity over the past few months from what we can see.

“In late January 2018, shortly after she was appointed as Northern Ireland Secretary,  Karen Bradley MP told journalists that the “time was short” but there was one last opportunity to restore the Executive. That was one year ago. The time is no longer short – the time is now.

“The Institutions need to be re-established immediately and democracy needs to be restored to the people of Northern Ireland. The situation where decisions now lie in the hands of bureaucrats and unelected Ministers from Westminster  is no longer tolerable.

“I am once again calling on the Tánaiste and the Northern Ireland Secretary to get together – notwithstanding the current issues with Brexit at Westminster – and immediately reconvene All-Party talks designed to get the Executive and the Assembly back up and running, and to return representative government and responsibility to the people of Northern Ireland. The political inertia in Belfast, London and Dublin must end now”.

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