SINN Féin’s Michelle O’Neill has branded as ‘shameful’ the DUP’s decision not to support the election of a new Stormont speaker today.
The DUP’s actions means the Assembly can not sit and no business can be done in the chamber or in committees. Crucially there can be no election of a First and deputy First Minister. The move is part of the party’s protest against the Irish Sea border.
Last week's Assembly election saw Sinn Féin returned as the North’s largest party with the DUP being relegated into second place.
Today DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson said his party’s stance is sending a “clear message” to the EU that it is serious about wanting the “protocol sorted”.
I made a promise to you all, that I would lead our team into Stormont to work for everyone.— Michelle O’Neill (@moneillsf) May 13, 2022
Sinn Féin is committed to getting the Executive back up and running, and to deliver real change for workers and families.
I encourage other parties to urgently join us in the Executive. pic.twitter.com/lKAFSAqJhe
Speaking at Stormont, he said it was now the turn of the British Prime Minister to “outline what he intends to do”.
“The choice is clear if the European Union is serious about the political institutions and the Belfast agreement, and its successor agreements then they know what to do.
“Equally the same message is there for our own government as well.
“The ball is firmly at the foot of the government.”
It comes as tensions between the British government and the EU have been ratcheted up in recent days over London threats to unilaterally override parts of the Protocol agreement between the UK and EU. Following a 'tetchy' telephone conversation yesterday between British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and vice-president of the European Commission, Maroš Šefčovič, Mr Šefčovič said that there was “no room to expand the EU negotiating mandate”.
"While this is a sad day for Northern Ireland, it is a shameful day for the DUP"— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) May 13, 2022
Alliance Party leader Naomi Long criticises members of the DUP for taking their salaries but refusing "to take their seats and do the work to earn it"https://t.co/YszI5SnB0x pic.twitter.com/Jj4keWhwRx
Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill – whose position as First Minister is being blocked by DUP’s latest move – took to Twitter to express her frustration.
“Today is the day we should be forming an Executive to put money in people's pockets and to start to fix our health service,” she said. “The DUP have confirmed they will punish the public and not turn up. They are disgracefully holding the public to ransom for their Brexit mess. Shameful.”