DUP’s denial of rights is the obstacle

 

A chara, – Your editorial “A betrayal of the public will”, (August 30th)perpetuates a lazy assertion which has been at the centre of your coverage of the extended absence of the north’s political institutions; namely that such a situation persists as a consequence of the “two, big problem parties”. Such a proposition is not borne out in fact. The late deputy first minister Martin McGuinness, in his resignation letter of January 2017, stated: “The equality, mutual respect and all-Ireland approaches enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement have never been fully embraced by the DUP. Apart from the negative attitude to nationalism and to the Irish identity and culture, there has been a shameful disrespect towards many other sections of our community. Women, the LGBT community and ethnic minorities have all felt this prejudice. For those who wish to live their lives through the medium of the Irish language, elements in the DUP have exhibited the most crude and crass bigotry.”

In the election that followed in March 2017, Sinn Féin won 224,245 votes on a platform of delivering “integrity, equality and respect” in government. To this end – following almost a year of negotiations – a deal between Sinn Féin and the DUP was struck in February this year which would have addressed many of the extant issues that currently prevent the re-establishment of the political institutions. The DUP reneged on that deal and walked away from the process. For its part, the British government, which is – lest we forget – being propped up by the DUP at Westminster in order to pursue a reckless Brexit agenda, has adopted a do-nothing approach that serves to facilitate the DUP’s continued denial of rights to citizens. These are rights that are enjoyed by citizens everywhere else on this island and in Britain, viz marriage rights, language rights and women’s rights. In the north? The DUP says no!

Your editorial does not mention these issues. However, the fact is that any notion that the political institutions can be re-established without dealing with them is not merely fanciful, it is simply a non-runner.

They are reasonable rights which citizens should be afforded in a decent and fair society. – Is mise,

SEÁN CROWE TD,

Sinn Féin,

Leinster House,

Dublin 2.