Today (Monday) marks 700 days since Stormont fell, leaving the Northern electorate without political representation at a critical time, a Fine Gael TD has said.
The Assembly collapsed on January 16, 2017 and has not met since then, despite the North being right to the fore of Brexit withdrawal discussions between the European Union and the United Kingdom.
Louth TD Fergus O’Dowd today accused Sinn Féin of being a “narrow-minded collection of insular people, who desperately cling to the sidelines, rather than show any interest in advancing Irish affairs or fortunes”.
“All people in the North have been completely abandoned by Sinn Féin. Politics is the art of finding solutions to intricate problems and issues.
“However those under the leadership of Mary Lou McDonald, via nameless individuals in Belfast, have shown a complete disregard to working towards any concrete solutions to their Northern impasse with the DUP,” Deputy O’Dowd said.
“Brexit is lapping at our shores and Sinn Féin offers no defence only to run to the hills and then watch and criticise as others attempt to deal with it. But this is true to Sinn Féin’s form. They ran from Government in the North, they sat back after the 2016 General Election here and they continually refuse to take their seats in the House of Commons at a time when Brexit literally balances on a knife-edge. Public representation?
“After decades of strife, they now masquerade as elected representatives despite failing to represent the people they were elected to serve. Change often comes slowly, but when it comes to Sinn Féin, talk of change is as empty as the seats of the Northern Assembly.
“If there is one record Sinn Féin is changing it is this: last August, the North broke Belgium’s record for the time without an elected government, as the stalemate continues. This looks like being one title Sinn Féin can rightly claim credit for – without any input or work. Achieved, simply by sitting on the fence.
“And as for Sinn Féin’s contribution to Brexit – continuous calls for an Irish border poll. At times when all on this island are mindful of traditions and their future, this proposal only alienates others who live on this island and heightens tensions.
“Politics means working with others to find a common goal or outcome that is acceptable to all, realising change and making lives better.
“But when you don’t participate in politics, the net result is inaction and ill-timed propositions such as border polls from Sinn Féin, who have now gone 700 days without representing their electorate in the Northern Assembly,” Deputy O’Dowd said.