Sinn Féin President in USA for meetings with Administration and senior leaders

Sinn Féin President in USA for meetings with Administration and senior leaders

SINN FÉIN President Mary Lou McDonald TD has travelled to the USA for a series of meetings with officials.

McDonald arrived on Wednesday December 1 to brief members of the US Administration and senior Congressional Leaders as concerns grow that the British government will breach two international agreements.

The first concern relates to the Stormont House Agreement on dealing with the past, while the second surrounds the possibility the British government will trigger Article 16 of the Irish protocol.

"The next few weeks will be extremely critical," Teachta McDonald said. "For narrow political interests, Boris Johnson’s Tory government is threatening to breach two international agreements; something which could have serious repercussions for everyone on the island of Ireland.

"The majority of people and parties in the north opposed Brexit and want to see the Irish protocol working, not undermined.

"The majority of people and parties in the north are universally opposed to the proposed amnesty for British soldiers and efforts to prevent families from getting truth and justice.

"Because of the seriousness of the situation," she continued, "I am travelling to the United States this week to brief the Administration and senior political leaders on Capitol Hill including the Majority Leader in the Senate – Senator Chuck Schumer, Chair of the Ways and Means Committee – Representative Richard Neal and Chair of Senate Foreign Relations – Senator Robert Menendez."

She said she will also meet with the Congressional Friends of Ireland group, senior Trade Union leaders and make an address to the New York Bar Association.

"The US Administration and Congress have proven to be vital partners in promoting the cause of peace and progress in Ireland and they are united in calling for all agreements to be honoured and implemented. Their continued support will be critical in the time ahead.

"I look forward to discussing how we can continue to work together to ensure that all agreements are honoured, strengthen social and economic prosperity as we build towards a new and united Ireland."

Also currently in the US is leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, Doug Beattie.

He is visiting both Washington and New York "to promote a confident and positive unionist message directly with politicians and influencers."

"Overall it was clear," he said. "The US wants to hear the unionist message, they want to understand, help and play a positive part in the lives of our people.

“It is time unionism began promoting who we are and what we stand for. We must be more positive and less negative, and we must be more engaged with organisations like The Ireland Funds, America.

"It certainly does not help our cause if we don’t reach out then complain nobody is listening. We must stop being overly confrontational and be more strategic in our thinking and that means creating unionist friends in the US.”