Fine Gael Minister of State at the Department of Finance, Patrick O’Donovan, has said that the British government needs to be reminded of its “serious obligation” as co guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement.

Responding, the leader of Aontú, Peadar Tóibín stated:

“300,000 people live in poverty in the north, 11,000 people are homeless, suicide rates are radically higher in the north than in the south or in England, drug related deaths have seen a significant spike and mental health services are massively underfunded. Dozens of significant and critical decisions in relation to infrastructure, economic development and the environment are frozen in time. Decisions such as the location of the new Medical College in Derry, the development of the Derry-to-Dublin motorway, investment in schools, housing, health, mental health services are all being shelved at a serious cost to the people of the north.

“During this time the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement have remained shuttered for well over 2 years, Westminster has implemented its third budget in the north. Fine Gael’s response has been to periodically go through the motions of coaxing two opposing sides to come to an agreement. It is abundantly clear that if Fine Gael, as the government, took their responsibility as co-guarantors of the GFA seriously they would take serious and radical steps to fix the political dysfunction in the north.

“We in Aontú have been calling for Joint Authority as an interim measure to fix the impasse in the north for over 6 months now. This would allow the two governments to select Ministers to make the decisions that are critical in people’s lives. It would also send a serious message to the DUP that their dysfunction will not be incentivised. It would also allow for real development of the All-Ireland economy at the critical time of Brexit.

“It is certainly true that the British government need to take their responsibility as co-guarantors to the GFA seriously. But the mediocre interest of Fine Gael into affairs north of the border and their own responsibilities are not a great examples to set.”