The Leaders of Northern Nationalism are not doing their Job - Tóibín
Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD has stated that a significant reason for the current impasse and stalemate in Stormont is the lack of interest of the London and Dublin governments. However the process has not been helped by the fact that the leaders of northern nationalism, Michelle O’Neill and Colum Eastwood are simply not doing their job.
“Michelle O’Neill and Colum Eastwood have failed to draw the necessary governmental or international attention on the impasse to get it fixed. There was surprise internally in Sinn Féin when Michelle O’Neill was chosen as leader of the party in the north. It was recognised by many that she was chosen not has a leader that would innovate and break new ground but as someone who would follow direction. It’s clear that this has come to pass”.
“Over the last two years Sinn Féin has focused on building their party rather than tackling the Stormont impasse. The shocking food, health, education and child poverty that now exists in the north should have been the primary focus but unfortunately it was not. Sinn Féin represents areas in the north which were most deprived economically during the troubles. Many of these areas remain most deprived 21 years after the Good Friday Agreement. The communities most affected by the troubles are the communities least benefiting from the peace".
The truth is the focus of SF’s political project has shifted south in recent years. The north has taken a back seat. Indeed remaining in government in the north and taking difficult decisions was seen as a threat to getting into government in the south”.
“Sinn Féin has dialled down its talk of Irish Unity, moved to the centre on Europe and started to push issues such as abortion on demand in their efforts to build alliances towards government in the south. With the advent of Aontú SF has started to speak about a border poll again but they still refuse to outline the practical steps necessary to get us there”.
Colum Eastwood has presided over a party in Limbo. In their long wait for Fianna Fáil to merge with them they have not invested financially or intellectually in their party. They are not bringing the cohesive and organised focus necessary either to deal with the shocking economic and social challenges facing the north or towards Irish Unity.
Its clear that the political system in the North is broken and as a result the economy and our society are suffering. On three occasions in the last month Aontú has sought a public debate with SF and the SDLP on the challenges facing the north, on Brexit and on Irish Unity and three occasions both parties refused to respond. Protecting the political status quo will not fix the broken political system. It will prolong its dysfunction. If Unity is to be achieved, if we are to lift families and communities out of poverty, if a healthy economy is to be built, its clear we have to fix the broken political system in the North first.