SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood has pressed for both the Irish and British Governments to convene Brexit meetings in the North immediately.
In a memo to both the Secretary of State Karen Bradley and An Tanaiste Simon Coveney, the SDLP Leader reaffirms his ask for the reconvening of the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference to “clear the decks” to allow power sharing to be restored.
But Mr Eastwood notes that it has been “several months since” that solution was put on the table and in the absence of any progress, the SDLP Leader said both Government’s could not allow the North to be “shut out and silenced” while Brexit legislation was ready to be rubber stamped.
The Foyle MLA said: “It has been several months since the SDLP told both Governments to reconvene the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference to clear the decks and let us get back to power-sharing. Yet, we have seen no progress whatsoever.
“It isn’t good enough.
“I have issued a memo to both the Secretary of State and an Tanaiste calling for progress. Asking that both Governments do not allow this dangerous drift to continue anymore.
“Northern Ireland is being left behind in too many ways. People here deserve better, they deserve Government and they deserve to have their rights, protected by the Good Friday Agreement, safeguarded by both guarantors.
“In my correspondence I have been very firm both Governments in the absence of convening the Intergovernmental Conference, must immediately convene meaningful discussions on Brexit.
“This part of the world stands to lose the most from a hard Brexit and yet we are being shut out and silenced from the Brexit debate. It is intolerable and anti-democratic.
“The people of the North voted to remain – yet it is only the DUP whispering behind closed doors to number 10 whose voices are being considered.
“I’ve been very clear to both Governments – the DUP do not speak for the majority of people in Northern Ireland – and therefore the British and Irish Governments have a duty to respect power-sharing and create space for the voices of all parties and all peoples in the North.
“Meaningful discussions should take place urgently. Last week, the Withdrawal Bill passed through the legislatures of Westminster.
“This legislation is soon to be made law without the consent of the people of Northern Ireland. This law will not protect us from a hard Brexit – it will see devolution undermined, a hard border still at risk and the socio-economic future of people across these islands left at risk.
“The SDLP will not allow our people to be punished by those who have trapped power-sharing in stalemate – and both Governments should ensure that is the case.
“Those who claim to be true to the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement now must act. The consequences of doing nothing will be catastrophic,” added the SDLP leader.Tags: