SINN Fein South Down Assembly election candidate, Sinead Ennis, has described next month’s election as a “watershed for the peace process.”
She believes while the Renewable Heat Initiative (RHI) scandal might have provided the catalyst for the inevitable collapse of the political institutions, the value and viability of power-sharing has been under sustained pressure for a long period of time. The Sinn Fein candidate also believes the DUP’s hostility towards power-sharing resulted in the inevitable collapse of the political institutions.
“Red Sky, NAMA and RHI happened because of the DUP’s political arrogance,” declared Ms Ennis. “All of these factors, combined with the failure of the British and Irish governments to fulfil their international obligations under the Good Friday Agreement, resulted in the political institutions becoming unsustainable.
“To compound matters further, we have a right wing Tory Government that has aligned itself with both the DUP and UUP, as evidenced in their mutually shared positions on Brexit, their narrative on the conflict, opposition to Irish-language rights and blocking any progress on dealing with the past.”
Ms Ennis said when announcing his resignation as Joint First Minister, Martin McGuinness made it clear Sinn Fein would no longer tolerate the DUP’s refusal to share power equally.
She continued: “This is what is at the heart of the crisis and when they talk about holding their noses when dealing with Sinn Fein representatives and comparing republicans with crocodiles it is clear the DUP have no interest in sharing power equally. In contrast to the DUP, Sinn Féin has invested heavily in the political institutions and persevered with inordinate patience.
“In contrast to the DUP we want to share power and put equality at the heart of the political process. Whatever happens after March 2, unless there is a qualitative step change in the DUP and an end to political corruption, there will be no return to the political institutions because they will have no value or purpose.”
Ms Ennis added: “No longer will republicans, nationalists, women, LGBT communities and ethnic minorities be pushed to the back of the bus again. The Assembly election will be another watershed for the peace process.”