LONDON — Sinn Féin accused Boris Johnson of refusing to debate coverage points straining Northern Eire’s coalition authorities whereas on an official go to to the area.
The British prime minister landed within the area on Friday afternoon to see firsthand how the U.Ok. authorities helps Northern Eire fight the coronavirus pandemic, in line with his official spokesman.
Johnson is because of go to a vaccination middle with Arlene Foster, Northern Eire’s first minister and Democratic Unionist Celebration chief, and the area’s Well being Minister Robin Swann. Johnson will later meet Foster in non-public, however the agenda doesn’t embody a gathering with Michelle O’Neill, Northern Eire’s deputy first minister and Sinn Féin vp.
When Johnson final visited the area in August 2020 he appeared publicly alongside Foster and O’Neill collectively at Hillsborough Fort, the official residence of the secretary of state for Northern Eire.
A Sinn Féin official mentioned O’Neill was solely invited to hitch Johnson for media alternatives, however what the occasion needed was a correct sit-down dialogue with the prime minister to sort out a variety of coverage points that threaten the steadiness of Northern Eire’s ruling government, together with the unfulfilled elements of agreements between the 2 halves of the coalition struck in 2015 and 2020 with the intervention of the U.Ok. authorities.
“Boris was keen to ask us for photograph ops, not for a severe dialogue. On that foundation, we’re declining to attend. We’re not fascinated about taking part in together with Boris’ PR machine. We wish and wish severe dialogue on a variety of points that the British prime minister should care about. Boris appears to need to help Arlene’s place. We’ll depart him to that,” the official mentioned.
Johnson’s official spokesman declined to reply to this allegation. He was additionally unable to say whether or not the prime minister would meet the Social Democratic and Labour Celebration.
“Michelle O’Neill was invited to hitch the prime minister throughout the go to. I don’t have the rest so as to add,” the spokesman mentioned.
The 2 events are bitterly divided on the Northern Eire Protocol, the part of the Brexit Withdrawal Settlement that was struck to take care of an open border between Northern Eire and the Republic of Eire whereas defending the integrity of the EU’s single market.
Foster mentioned Johnson ought to scrap the protocol, which she mentioned was doing financial hurt. “Not a single unionist occasion in Northern Eire helps this unworkable protocol. Fairly than shield the Belfast [Good Friday] Settlement and its successor agreements, the protocol has created societal division and financial hurt,” she mentioned.
Sinn Féin MP Chris Hazzard mentioned the U.Ok. authorities ought to go additional to implement the protocol. “What we have to see Boris Johnson doing is honoring and implementing agreements made, together with the Irish protocol. We additionally must see the British authorities totally implementing the Good Friday Settlement, together with its provision for a unity referendum so that folks can have their say on their very own future.”
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