Sinn Fein walked away from this particular talks process yesterday claiming there was clearly no point. The DUP hadn’t even shown up which in itself vindicates the Sinn Fein position. More importantly Sinn Fein stood on an electoral manifesto of refusing to return to the status quo because as Martin McGuinness said when he closed down Stormont, it had become impossible to work with the intransigent attitude of the DUP.
Lets not forget the other parties had all filed a motion calling on the DUP first minister to resign. All of the parties outside of unionism claimed to support an Acht na Gaeilge, Marriage Equality, Legacy resolutions for Victims, a Bill of Rights etc. A lot of these issues had been subject to prior agreements but the DUP refused to implement them. Another issue was the misuse of the petition of concern and seemingly during these negotiations no agreement was reached.
With that in mind I think it’s important the media ask for clarity from all parties on they’re current position. Is it only Sinn Fein who are refusing to go back to more of the same, is it only Sinn Fein who are holding their position on Acht na Gaeilge, Marriage Equality, Legacy Issues etc. Are the other parties actually saying they wanted to, or were prepared to re-establish stormont without any of these matters being resolved.
We are now going to hear a lot about Sinn Fein being to blame for the lack of a budget, job losses etc and it’s already happening. Also we’ll hear a lot about the Civil Service being able to operate independently, and insanely some people think that’s fine. The DUP have been the main obstacle to progress on the issues listed above and the DUP FM is still under investigation on RHI, so it’s reasonable to say, we are where we are because of them.
Anyone who thinks the Civil Service delivering services without local accountability is an acceptable option, or that it is any less a political budget is misguided. Left to their own devices the Civil Service will mutilate vital services in favour of self protectionism. They try their best to do that anyway, even with accountability.
All parties stood on a manifesto, including Sinn Fein. Will Sinn Fein be the only party to honour their manifesto. I believe they were right to demand pre existing agreements are implemented and they would have been seeking votes under false pretences if they went back in without agreement.
Prior to the last election it appeared that all parties were speaking with one voice on issues around DUP arrogance, alleged corruption, homophobia etc. Can all parties stand up and be counted with One Voice now. To do otherwise stinks of opportunism.