All parties must embrace spirit and letter of Good Friday Agreement.
That was the message from Francie Molloy MP who called on all parties to embrace, and commit to implementing the Good Friday Agreement in full.
The Sinn Féin MP was speaking at a panel discussion in Westminster on the legacy and significance of the Good Friday Agreement, alongside Professor Paul Bew and British Shadow Secretary of State Tony Lloyd.
The Mid Ulster MP said: “The Good Friday Agreement transformed life on the island of Ireland. It founded political institutions in the north of Ireland that could accommodate the perspectives of all communities on the principles of parity of esteem, equality and reconciliation.
“Sadly, however, the faithful exercise of these principles by the DUP and other elements within political unionism has been found wanting.
“The DUP continue to deny basic civil and human rights for Irish speakers, LGBTQ citizens and those bereaved during the conflict.
“As a society we have come a long way. The Orange state and its discriminatory, apartheid apparatus are gone. Why then are we still struggling for rights and respect 50 years after the emergence of the Civil Rights movement, and 20 years since the people of Ireland ratified the Good Friday Agreement?
“The Good Friday Agreement is only as effective and functional as those charged with implementing it through the principles on which it was founded.
“Twenty years on, the DUP must accept that the process of power-sharing and the future of reconciliation cannot be advanced without full and unequivocal commitment to equality and parity of esteem.
“Due to the DUP’s refusal to come to terms with this reality, political institutions in the north are still not operational.
“It is Sinn Féin’s view that the Irish and British governments must convene the British Irish Intergovernmental Conference. The responsibility of the Conference should be to produce a plan, a pathway to bring forward the legislation and resources to secure these rights and implement the outstanding agreements from 20 years ago.”
The Good Friday Agreement, he said, ‘remains the bedrock of any future agreement and for any progress. Indeed, the Good Friday Agreement should be unconditionally embraced by all political parties’.