Sinn Féin's Michelle O'Neill in Washington for engagements with administration and Irish American leaders

Sinn Féin's Michelle O'Neill in Washington for engagements with administration and Irish American leaders

FIRST MINISTER designate Michelle O’Neill MLA will be in Washington from today for a series of meetings with representatives of the US Administration, Congressional Members, and Irish American Leaders. 

The Sinn Féin Vice President will brief senior US politicians on political events in Ireland since May's Northern Ireland Assembly election and the need to immediately restore all the political institutions of the Good Friday Agreement.

“I will tell politicians, diplomats and business leaders that the majority of people voted for change, and there is a strong commitment from a majority of newly elected MLAs and Assembly parties to work together and make politics work so we can deliver for the whole community," she said ahead of the visit.

“The continued stand-off by the DUP who are denying the public the democratic representation and leadership they are entitled to cannot continue.  The political cover by the Tories must be robustly challenged. The Good Friday Agreement must be both applied and upheld in full.

“We need to form a Government and set a budget to help give relief to families and workers who face a huge burden come autumn with the rising cost of living on households."

She said it is important that all those in the US "who value the close political, economic and cultural bonds with the island of Ireland understand what is not at stake after a quarter century of peace and stability."

She said the British government is trying to sabotage political agreements through an "anti-good Friday agreement agenda" that is "dressed up in a pro-agreement rhetoric."

“They have abandoned victims and survivors and taken a fundamental departure away from the Stormont House Agreement by legislating unilaterally in order to protect the interests of the British State itself," O'Neill continued.

“They are legislating to breach international law and denounce the Protocol which limits the impact of their hard Brexit on society and business here, and prevents a hard border."

She said the Tory party have demonstrated that they are an "untrustworthy partner in Ireland and internationally."

“Now is the time to assert the primacy of politics, the honouring of agreements, and respect for international law which protects the all-island economy and prevents a hard border on the island of Ireland.”

The visit comes as party leader Mary Lou McDonald is currently in Australia for a series of engagements with federal and state representatives.

She will also deliver a keynote address to the National Press Club in Canberra and speak at events hosted by the Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce and the Sydney Chapter of Trinity Alumni.