Michelle O’Neill rejects the Foster proposal

Sinn Fein Leader in the North, Michelle O’Neill has rejected Arlene Foster’s proposal outlined earlier tonight;

Sinn Féin is entirely committed to making the political institutions work for all citizens.

“ For over ten years Martin McGuinness maintained the Executive while seeking to have the outstanding commitments of the agreements implemented with respect and equality for all.

“Over this period the DUP and the British government refused to honor the agreements and operate powersharing on the basis of equality. On that basis Martin McGuiness resigned.

“The statement by the DUP leader demonstrates that they have not listened or acknowledged the reasons of Martin’s resignation.

“Establishing an Executive that may collapse after a matter of months on the same issues will only fail all our people.

“Let’s agree to quickly conclude talks on implementation and rights, that is the only way to build a sustainable Executive that will last.” 

  • Brendan Heading

    So a few days ago SF were making an renewed public push for talks to resume, and now they’re rejecting out of hand a serious proposal to try to move the issue forward without giving it more than a few minutes of consideration.

    It’s time for serious consideration of how we can reform the political infrastructure around devolution so that it can’t be brought down by one party that refuses to negotiate on a serious basis.

  • Georgie Best

    There is no need for endless talks. The DUP should simply state that they will support an Irish language act and that they will not use of petition of concern for things such as marriage which are not concerned with the constitution.

  • Dan2

    Stuff them.
    Adams’s little blonde puppet has received her instructions.
    Time for Direct Rule.

  • I Can Confirm This

    In short, we can’t get what we want via the Assembly and its form of democracy, therefore we want to do politics a different way, which way and how, we are not sure…

    Seeing as SF don’t want to do politics and law making inside the chamber perhaps the SoS should just cut off SF’s salaries and office costs.

    (Also, ‘Sinn Fein Leader in the North’ – is she speaking from Donegal? I wonder would it be possible for Slugger to have its editorial team use inclusive language perhaps including the word Northern Ireland beside the word North eg North / Northern Ireland)

  • David McCann

    Also worth highlighting that the SDLP Leader has also rejected the DUP proposal

    “Arlene Foster has missed an opportunity to do the right thing and show real leadership. If this is a signal towards change of position from the DUP on a standalone Irish Language Act then we welcome that, but there is nothing explicit in these remarks to confirm that yet.

    “The proposals made are not a credible solution to the challenges we face, and the DUP Leader knows that. They are the definition of kicking the can down the road.

    “There is little point in restoring the Executive only to face collapse at a further stage.

    “Anything that can be agreed in a time limited parallel process can be agreed now. Time is not the issue, a critical lack of political generosity is.

    “There is an emerging battle to shift blame rather than proposing credible solutions.

    “Instead parties should move to deliver a sustainable and inclusive Executive. That means tackling the difficult issues, agreeing an implementation plan for health service transformation and resourcing our struggling public services.”

  • Gary Da;ze;;

    Yes, an ILA is a must!!! I don’t give a monkeys about hospital waiting lists, unaffordable cancer drugs, reduced staffing levels in hospitals, school cuts, infrastructure falling apart, reduced policing levels so long as road signs are in Irish, 10% of civil servants speak Irish and when I’m up on disorderly behaviour I can insist my trial is conducted in Irish. The PULs on the jury won’t know when I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth at the same time.

  • I Can Confirm This

    You have to remember things such as Irish language laws are going to attract serious resistance from within unionist areas and the issue must be given the respect and transparency it deserves. This can only really come about via the assembly, unionists will resent having these sort of deals done in shadowy rooms above their heads. It is a culturally sensitive issue which probably would merit petition of concern use if not done right, same way if Unionists tried to legislate say designated days for the Union flags on all councils – SF would definitely use the petition.

  • Sub

    The Stoops have hit the nail on the head. It seems that the DUP has learned nothing . Either they implement what was agreed or there will be no executive, nationalists are not prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt anymore

  • Brendan Heading

    Why stop there ? Why not simply demand the DUP state there should be a united Ireland and free Porsches for all Sinn Féin voters ?

  • I Can Confirm This

    The SDLP seem to want to be that metastasising influence on the cancerous Sinn Fein working to accelerate the demise of the NI Assembly and its political and legislative life. While the Alliance a parasite.

  • Brendan Heading

    nationalists are not prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt anymore

    What this really means is that nationalists are prepared to enter a long period of direct rule with no prospect whatsoever for any kind of Irish language provision. If so, then it shows that they are more interested in trying to hurt the DUP (with the general population facing the collateral damage) than they are in trying to find some kind of solution.

  • I Can Confirm This

    They also don’t give the Unionist community enough respect either by trying to push this issue out of the Assembly and into the hands of others, legislating culturally sensitive issues above the heads of the unionist community. This will only lead to serious resentment not just within political Unionism but down and out into streets, affecting the ordinary working class unionist. It is this demographic who are well known for being sick to the back teeth of SF appeasement.

    So SF can’t seem to get the assembly to work to its agenda, so they aren’t playing any more and want the government to intervene and do its bidding?!

  • Zig70

    I always smile at the term stoops used. SF will never be a unifying force in the north while they abide a wee bit of bullying on their fellow nationalists. Unionism is safe enough yet.

  • Brendan Heading

    legislating culturally sensitive issues above the heads of the unionist community.

    Given the way Unionist political parties have handled brexit, I’m not sure they would have much authority if they attempted to make this case.

  • The worm!

    Would others in the Alliance party share your view on that?

  • William Kinmont

    From what i can read about St Andrews Sf got a Side deal to establish ILA and Dup got side deal to block it. Sort of fair enough.
    Tony Blair got a nice peacemaker badge which turned out wasnt quite big enough to cover his Iraq War tattoo also fair enough.
    We all unfortunetly got a none functioning executive, not fair.

  • Georgie Best

    Because a united Ireland is clearly a constitutional matter and free Porsches would be just taking the Mickey.

  • Georgie Best

    Once again flying of flags is clearly a political matter, while as Arlene Foster said today the Irish language has nothing to do with the union.

    Less of the whataboutery, please.

  • Brendan Heading

    Demanding things from people without negotiations is taking the mickey

  • Brendan Heading

    I don’t know, I’d have to ask.

  • Georgie Best

    You’d nearly think that O’Neill had forgotten who won the Battle of the Boyne.

  • mickfealty

    We generally do (I never knowingly use any of the colloquial terms for Northern Ireland), but David here is using the party’s title for Mrs O’Neill.

  • I Can Confirm This

    Thank you.

    I don’t mind colloquial terms, but the ones that are clearly associated with a particular community, I feel when they are used in reportage a bit of balance is lost, not useful if the site intends to attract a broader readership. If it wants to be a mini version of the Irish News, crack on!

  • Georgie Best

    Recognition of Irish culture was in the the GFA and this language act was agreed at St Andrews. Enough delay.

  • hgreen

    I absolutely understand your point that there are much bigger things than the ILA however the question I would ask is why the DUP think blocking an ILA is more important than the things you’ve mentioned. The ILA is small stuff really.

  • David McCann

    It is accurate reporting to use the title she actually has within the party in question.

  • I Can Confirm This

    Are you writing for the party? Sinn Fein party leader of the Assembly would have been fine or something. Using the term the North would be like Slugger using the term Mainland, Teresa May Conservative Party leader in the Mainland, should there ever be a functioning NI Tory Party within the Assembly.

  • NotNowJohnny

    Of course you can have an ILA while at the same time focus on tackling issues such as the ones you have raised. There are nine departments with one focussing on Heath, one on infrastructure and one on policing and justice, all of which will continue to function and continue to have a similar budget whether we have an ILA or not. Having an ILA and delivering health, policing and infrastructure services aren’t mutually exclusive. Which makes me wonder what your actual point is here?

  • mickfealty

    I never legislate for what writers use. But I tend to use the official terms for most things. Derry for the city, East Londonderry for the Constituency. But I prefer to let writers use their discretion. In this case, if that’s what the party calls her, fair enough.

  • I Can Confirm This

    And I have just checked the BBC – god forbid – not a fan of the BBC quite genuinely – and they have termed her:

    ‘Sinn Féin’s NI Assembly leader Michelle O’Neill’

    David I believe you might suffer from ‘unconscious bias’.

  • NotNowJohnny

    I don’t think a long period of direct rule will hurt the DUP at all. A significant proportion of DUP supporters believe that Sinn Fein shouldn’t even be in government. So a period of direct rule will be very welcome. Sinn Fein are no fools and must surely realise that a long period of direct rule will not hurt the DUP either. Which raises the question of whether trying to hurt the DUP is really their objective here. I suspect not. I suspect that Sinn Fein’s objective here is to maximise its support and a period of direct rule will surely do that. Direct rule with DUP influence will certainly boost Sinn Fein’s support; direct rule which resists DUP influence will make the DUP (with its so called deal) a laughing stock.

  • David McCann

    Good for the BBC, but I always used official party terms for party officials.

    Now, can you please get back on topic.

  • NotNowJohnny

    This ranks as the most stupid response of the day. You are well aware that a commitment to an Irish language act was included in the SAA and that ten years later it still hasn’t arrived. Equating an ILA to free Porsches shows a remarkable lack of understanding of the issue at hand.

  • NotNowJohnny

    What do you mean by ‘above the heads of the unionist community’? Do you think the unionist community should have a veto on everything. If not, what does ‘above the heads of the unionist community’ actually mean? Do you think the GFA was legislated for over the heads of the unionist community? Do you think the commitment in the SAA to bring forward an ILA was agreed ‘above the heads of the unionist community’? Do you think the inclusion of Fermanagh and Tyrone in the state of Northern Ireland was legislated for above the heads of the nationalist community? I’m trying to work out what your point is here.

  • NotNowJohnny

    Do do you call for the cutting off of unionist salaries and office costs when they collapsed the assembly previously? If not, why are you calling for this in respect us Sinn Fein now?

  • james

    “What do you mean by ‘above the heads of the unionist community”

    In fairness there’s a fair number of nationalists who don’t want money wasted on an ILA either.

  • Aarrnn

    “Nationalists” – what nationalists? where’s the data that backs up saying nationalists are prepared to enter into a long period of direct rule? There is a feud going on between Sinn Fein and the DUP. Everything else is conjecture. My personal opinion however is that both these parties have to go, both are prepared to play a game of political gains with the population of Northern Ireland. Sadly it works everytime…

  • mickfealty

    They’re not the ones who crashed the Assembly Hugh.

  • james

    No, no danger of that, given her standard-issue highly refined sense of victimhood in all things.

    She does seem to have forgotten why McGuinness resigned, though. Mind you, I suppose no one is really certain on that score – perhaps his 24 years were up.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    What happens if Direct Rule becomes a Hard and Permanent Direct Rule. I know a lot of Unionist Opinion is thinking this as its best political option ?

  • the keep

    It wasn’t agreed by the Dup at St Andrews or GFA

  • Dan2

    Comment deleted yet again. What a bore.

  • Glenn

    An attempt to compromise was thrown back in the face of not only the DUP but the general public by “we demand” Sinn Fein/IRA.

    How must this be playing out in the south. All the political parties there must be looking at the shinners/provos and wondering what is in store for them. if the shinners/provos are prepared to let children, cancer and other patients hang out to dry because of an Irish language act. What are they prepared to do there if they get their grubby hands on the leavers of power. The electorate in the south you have been warned. RHI was just another Sinn Fein/IRA ambush.

  • hgreen

    True, but they are the ones that were mired in a financial scandal.

  • murdockp

    Yes, the free Porsches reference should have been made to the DLA bill which is ten times greater than the rest of the UK per capita running at a cool £1.0bn.

    Why who needs an expensive to run Porsche when you already have an excellent company car fully paid for.

  • Brendan Heading

    George is saying that Sinn Féin has no need to negotiate, that it should simply state whatever its demands are and the DUP should accept them. It’s reasonable to ask where the line is drawn with this attitude. It is of course ridiculous, as it would be for any negotiation between any two parties.

    You are well aware that a commitment to an Irish language act was included in the SAA and that ten years later it still hasn’t arrived.

    What I am well aware that over the period since the ceasefires of 1994 many public commitments have been made on many things which have not been delivered. Sinn Féin did not make an Irish Language Act a precondition on re-entry when the StAA was signed in 2006, it still wasn’t a precondition when they ran for election in 2016.

    Equating an ILA to free Porsches shows a remarkable lack of understanding of the issue at hand.

    I didn’t equate them. A process where people make demands and expect them to be delivered without negotiation or compromise isn’t going to work. It doesn’t matter whether the issue is an ILA or anything else.

    The process, as it exists currently, will absolutely not deliver progress on Irish language issues. I suspect SF know this.

  • Brendan Heading

    Yes, and in the ten year period since then SF parked it. They’re now un-parking it and resurrecting it as a precondition.

  • Brendan Heading

    I don’t think a long period of direct rule will hurt the DUP at all.

    Of course it will and Sinn Féin know it. They reckon the threat of putting all the MLAs and DUP activists on the dole will deliver some kind of result, and they reckon they can weather the storm better than the DUP due to their extensive international donations.

    I don’t think it’s how we should be doing things, not least because it will do severe damage to all the parties, not just the DUP.

    So a period of direct rule will be very welcome.

    If republicans believe that Northern Ireland is better under British rule they should say so.

  • Brendan Heading

    I’m not a nationalist but I believe spending money on supporting promotion and retention of the Irish language and the cultural aspects associated with it is fair and reasonable.

  • Jim Jetson

    To get the Executive back up and running, joint rule from Dublin and London needs to be threatened. Direct rule from London is a little too comfortable for Unionists.

  • Aodh Morrison

    Yes it’s back to SFIRA.

    This time the Shinners are running away from politics. You know politics, that old thing about consensus building, compromise and actually delivering for the public.

    Sinn Féin are more comfortable in Connolly House at the end of a ‘command wire’ (helpfully provided by a compliant media) making its demands – ‘usuns have 90 minutes to get out and do what we dictate’.

    All this in the midst of the so-called ‘respect’ agenda. The greatest and most far reaching disrespect is being shown to the electorate, all the electorate, who go out and spend their time voting.

    Of course, being charitable, one has got to understand SF’s point of view. From St Andrews onwards it has been bested in negotiations and shown itself ineffectual in government. SF has a political position that, for many has merit, yet its approach has made it incapable of advancing its agenda.

    It was indulged during the Blair years, and at times since, with bilateral agreements put in place to meet the demands it made. When it got down to actually sitting within a governmental structure and had to move policies forward on its own it found that hoping for a compliant political adversary that would simply comply by being shouted at it was nonplussed.

    Politics in local democracy, even one that provided places in government by right, proved beyond its capabilities. Running away and then shouting through a megaphone was the only option.

  • Georgie Best

    People in the south have an Irish language act. Why should one part of Ireland be different from another in this respect, the Irish language belongs to all of us.

  • Georgie Best

    We have all have situations where we are willing to tolerate a certain delay for something, but not an indefinite one. Those 10 years saw important confidence building measures from SF in relation to support for policing and other matters and gestures of respect towards QEII and other things of interest to unionists. The DUP have just ignored this and carried on beating their Lambeg drum and shouting No Surrender. This isn’t the partnership approach envisaged in 1998.

  • Glenn

    Irish does not belong to me and a large section of this part of the UK wants nothing to do with it from both sections of the community. just in the same way other languages don’t belong to me or others, it is a hobby language just like other languages. If we are to have an language act let’s have an all inclusive one.

  • Georgie Best

    Isn’t that the problem? The unionist people have turned their back on the GFA although the nationalist side have worked it.

  • Georgie Best

    Ah yes, Irish is like Polish. What a charming political philosophy.

  • Jeff

    Clearly the majority in the south don’t use Irish and don’t give a stuff about it. They care about jobs, health (not forgetting it’s not free there) care, education etc I think an act should be in place it’s how you go about it though. Perfectly fair to have it run along side other talks with an accountable assembly and ministers in place to be responsible and move things forward for All the community. I’m not a lover of the DUP or mrs foster who has let a great many people down by her previous actions. but credit where it’s due, this is a positive move forward. But Adams and O’Neil haven’t the imagination to run with it. Adams is an old man with a thought processes that that belongs in the dim and distant past.

  • Get The Grade Get The Grade

    “…hospital waiting lists, unaffordable cancer drugs, reduced staffing levels in hospitals, school cuts, infrastructure falling apart, reduced policing levels…”

    Being part of the UK clearly isn’t doing the north east of Ireland any favours. What a train-wreck!

  • The worm!

    It’s “reductio ad absurdum” and is accepted since the times of Greek philosopy.

    He has also shown (correctly) how he applied it to the initial point.

    You should take it on board.

  • The worm!

    I’ll bet somebody somewhere has a Porsche on “motability” anyway.

    Although it could be a prod I suppose!

  • james

    I agree with that. All I’m arguing is that:

    a. Spending on it needs to be capped, controlled, transparent, and accountable.

    and

    b. Let’s have the the languages act, but let’s have a combined I&USLA – in the interests of fairness, equality and cultural mixing.

    Can somebody please tell me what’s wrong with that?

  • Brendan Heading

    We have all had situations where we are willing to tolerate a certain delay for something, but not an indefinite one.

    No, I’m afraid this isn’t an actual reflection of what happened. SF had numerous opportunities to raise the issue, and it chose not to take them.

    For example the DUP had a vulnerable moment around 2009/10. SF used that opportunity to push the devolution of policing and justice. Not the Irish language act.

    In the 2016 elections, Martin McGuinness made a comment at a public hustings event that he would withdraw from the executive if it did not renew its commitment to upgrading the A5 dual carriageway. Why didn’t they mention the Irish language act then ?

    If the agreement was to implement it as part of the StAA arrangements, why did the Sinn Féin DCAL minister commit departmental resources into holding a public consultation with a few to producing an Irish language executive bill ?

    So no, I’m afraid I don’t buy this idea that the issue has been on SF’s agenda since 2006. It hasn’t been.

    Those 10 years saw important confidence building measures from SF in relation to support for policing and other matters and gestures of respect towards QEII and other things of interest to unionists.

    SF are to be commended for this and I’ve no problem agreeing that they showed leadership here. But perhaps the problem here is that they were too generous – why didn’t they agree to do this in exchange for something from the DUP ? –
    or too weak – were they actually in a position to snub the Queen after she made a historic state visit to Ireland ?

    The DUP have just ignored this and carried on beating their Lambeg drum and shouting No Surrender. This isn’t the partnership approach envisaged in 1998.

    I’m sorry but SF worked with the DUP to systematically dismantle the partnership approach agreed in 1998. They rewrote the rules around appointing the First and deputy First Ministers to suit the DUP. They operated the executive behind closed doors, locking the smaller parties out and ultimately making it impossible for those parties to stay in. their instinct at every turn was to turn a blind eye to the DUP’s corruption. Even when the RHI story became apparent SF were reluctant to support a censure motion in the Assembly.

    So again, no, please don’t tell me that SF were not reluctant partners in this. They abandoned consociational government for their own purposes.

  • Brendan Heading

    Nothing wrong with any of that james, although I think the Ulster Scots thing is a bit artificial.

  • Brendan Heading

    where’s the data that backs up saying nationalists are prepared to enter into a long period of direct rule?

    The data may be found in the public comments of the nationalist political parties who are refusing to return to the executive. The choice is either devolution or direct rule.

  • Stephen Kelly

    Serious are you serious.

  • Stephen Kelly

    Exactly

  • Stephen Kelly

    See your not serious.

  • Stephen Kelly

    At last exactly.

  • Stephen Kelly

    Who cares if you buy it that’s the way it is.

  • Stephen Kelly

    Right on Gary please ring up Teresa if you know her and tell her we need the block grant increased by say 5 billion.

  • Stephen Kelly

    This has been copy pasted from somewhere else i am sure.
    shinners/provos grubby hands on the leavers of power.
    Hope your not a DUP/UDA negotiator.

  • Stephen Kelly

    Great to have an opinion isn’t it along with hundreds of thousands of other people who have a different one than yours and that’s just in the nationalist community.

  • Stephen Kelly

    So go for it.

  • Stephen Kelly

    LOL very good

  • Stephen Kelly

    on the cancerous Sinn Fein. So now i am a cancer fekit you see between you and crocodile Arlene i have to vote for them and sometimes its cold but ho hum must vote.

  • Gary Da;ze;;

    My actual point is that promotion only of the Welsh Language is currently costing 8 – 9M per annum, that’s to produce the shiney brochures before the new car is even out of the showroom. The dual signage, reams of unread Welsh language bumpf, interpreter services, jobs for the boys and other nonsense it produces adds another 130M per annum. There are better things such monies can be spent on rather than placating spoiled brats throwing a tantrum because mummy won’t buy them the latest toy. The 3 – 5M per annum being floated for the ILA is total nonsense and the promoters are well aware of it but it does the business to get the useful idiots like the Alliance party on board. Wales at least had some basis for Welsh in.that there were some native speakers. Here we didn’t have those until a political programme commenced to instigate a Belfast gaeltacht.

  • john millar

    “Irish does not belong to me and a large section of this part of the UK wants nothing to do with it from both sections of the community. just in the same way other languages don’t belong to me or others, it is a hobby language just like other languages. If we are to have an language act let’s have an all inclusive one.”
    Ah Ha the nub – I don`t want to pay for bonfires policing OO marches /PIRA protests. etc etc. We need some way of imposing these costs on these groups involved

  • john millar

    “Either they implement what was agreed or there will be no executive,”
    Brilliant— put all the unemployable on the dole

  • john millar

    “I don’t think a long period of direct rule will hurt the DUP at all.”

    Absolutely wrong. The DUP vote (core) will be delighted with 10,20 30 years of direct rule.
    (Not to sure about the DUP reps tho)

  • john millar

    Cracker

  • Brendan Heading

    Absolutely wrong. The DUP vote (core) will be delighted with 10,20 30 years of direct rule.

    People have short memories. The DUP support powersharing because they quite correctly do not trust the UK government, a point jointly made by Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness when they decided to enter government back in 07.

    Things may look rosy at the moment in Westminster, but this is a passing phase. The present Parliament is unlikely to run for the full five years. It’s very difficult to see how the Conservatives will stay in office absent a brexit miracle. The Corbyn/McDonnell leadership is not predisposed to being sympathetic with the DUP.