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Gerry Adams: Government 'in clear breach of Good Friday Agreement' over DUP talks

3 min read

Gerry Adams has said the Government is “in clear breach of the Good Friday Agreement” by trying to strike a deal at Westminster with the DUP.

The Sinn Fein president said his party would “oppose any deal” which they believed undermined the power-sharing arrangement at Stormont.

He spoke out after holding face-to-face talks with Theresa May in Downing Street aimed at kick-starting the stalled Northern Ireland governance process.

The Prime Minister met representatives of all five main political parties from the province with a view to getting the Assembly back up and running again.

At the same time, Mrs May has been trying to thrash out a deal which would see the DUP prop up a minority Tory government in the Commons.

Under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement agreed in 1998, the UK government must remain neutral in its dealings with both sides of the political divide in Northern Ireland.

Flanked by Michelle O'Neill, leader of Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland, Mr Adams said of the talks with the Prime Minister: “We told her very directly that she was in breach of the Good Friday Agreement and we itemised those matters in which she was in default in relation to that agreement.

“This is the first time I have been here without [former Deputy First Minister] Martin McGuinness and we also gave her Martin McGuinness' resignation letter because that points out the difficulties [where] the institutions failed but also pinpoint the way that the institutions can be put back in place on a basis which shows respect for everyone, tolerance and integrity.”

He added: “We will oppose any deal which undermined the Good Friday Agreement.

“A little side bargain to keep Theresa May in power, a temporary little arrangement, won't have any integrity and isn't as important as the integrity and the needs of the people who live in Ireland.”

Ms O'Neill said: “We made very clear to the Prime Minister that any deal between herself and the DUP cannot undermine the Good Friday Agreement, it cannot undermine the joint nature of the office.”

Mr Adams also ruled out any prospect of Sinn Fein's seven MPs taking their seats in the Commons in an attempt to block the Conservatives.

He said: "We're Irish republicans, we have just been elected on a certain mandate. That mandate is that we won't interfere in British affairs, we won't take an oath of allegiance to the English Queen – no harm to her.

"We're united Irelanders, we want to govern ourselves. You folk here made enough mess of our own elections, make enough mess of your own governments, make enough mess of your own affairs. We want you out of our affairs and we'll try to sort out these matters as Irish men and women on the island of Ireland."

Theresa May had earlier announced that the Queen's Speech setting out her government's plans will take place on 21 June, whether a deal has been reached with the DUP or not.

A Conservative source said "broad agreement on the principles of the Queen's Speech" had been reached between the two parties.

“Both parties are committed to strengthening the union, combating terrorism, delivering Brexit and delivering prosperity across the whole of the country,” the source said.

“However, while talks are ongoing it is important that the Government gets on with its business and we are confident there will be sufficient support across the House for passing a Queen's Speech.”

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