News | Eastwood: Both Governments Must Use The Good Friday Agreement To Protect Both Traditions

Eastwood: Both Governments Must Use The Good Friday Agreement To Protect Both Traditions

Speaking after the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Karen Bradley made a statement to the House of Commons on the political impasse, SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood said that the SDLP would not accept a return to “British Direct Rule which is effectively unionist majority rule by the back door."

Mr Eastwood said:

“People in the North of Ireland have already had to wait 13 months without a Government, over a year for decisions to be taken that affect their lives. Today the British Government has done nothing but asked the people of Northern Ireland to keep waiting – that is totally unacceptable.

“It is well past the point that decisions needed to be taken. People, schools, hospitals, continue to suffer here without a Government. The situation cannot continue. 

“As the SDLP has said for months both the Irish and British Governments need to jointly step up. Both Governments must use the Good Friday Agreement to protect both traditions here in the absence of ongoing negotiation to restore devolution. They must use the Agreement to convene the British - Irish Intergovernmental Conference in order to maintain the balance of allegiance and aspiration at the heart of all our political agreements. 

“This week I will travel to London and to Dublin to make it crystal clear that both the Irish and British Governments have a responsibility to defend the Good Friday Agreement – to protect both traditions on this island. Failing to do so will leave northern nationalism powerless in the face of Tory/DUP Direct Rule. 

"The SDLP will not accept a return to British Direct Rule which is effectively unionist majority rule by the back door - given the  relationship between the DUP and the Tory Government. 

"Both Governments must have the same courage our people have had here and choose to move Northern Ireland forward not backwards.”

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