Now is the time for parties to deliver unity, says Gerry Kelly
The Sinn Fein MLA was delivering a speech in Co Mayo to commemorate the 1981 hunger strikes.
A senior Sinn Fein MLA has called on all the nationalist parties on the island to work together to deliver a united Ireland.
Delivering a speech in Co Mayo to commemorate the 1981 hunger strikes, Gerry Kelly also paid tribute to the late Martin McGuinness and said the political institutions at Stormont should be re-established.
“I challenge the leaders of the SDLP, Fine Gael, and Fianna Fail to stop hiding behind the mantra of now is not the time to discuss unity. One hundred years on since 1916, as we face into Brexit, now is the time not only to discuss unity, but to plan and deliver Irish Unity,” he said.
The Sinn Fein man added: “Sinn Fein wants an Ireland that is defined by hope, prosperity and opportunity for all citizens irrespective of their age, gender, religious persuasion, cultural identity, political affiliation, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.”
He paid tribute to the late Martin McGuinness and the 1981 hunger strikers.
The North Belfast MLA also insisted that the political institutions at Stormont should be re-established.
“We want the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement re-instated but on the basis of equality, mutual respect and integrity.
“The present talks, now stalled, are about implementing agreements already made. That is basic to a power-sharing Executive and Assembly,” he said.
Sinn Fein demands in the talks process include an Irish Language Act, a Marriage Equality Act, a Bill of Rights and measures to deal with legacy issues.
Mr Kelly said these are not unreasonable asks for people living in Northern Ireland, “especially when they are rights everywhere else in Ireland and Britain.”
Northern Ireland has been without a functioning devolved government since January, when the coalition led by the two biggest parties, the DUP and Sinn Fein collapsed, over a green energy scandal.
In January, Mr McGuinness resigned in protest over the DUP’s handling of an inquiry into the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.
His party had demanded that DUP leader Arlene Foster step aside temporarily to allow an investigation into the scheme she set up, but Mrs Foster refused.
Since then the two parties have been deadlocked over a number of issues.
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