Michelle O’Neill: NI protocol bill will have ‘enormous political and economic implications’

Michelle O’Neill warned that the British government’s plan to pass legislation to repeal the Northern Ireland Protocol would have “tremendous political and economic implications”.

Sinn Fein leader Stormont said Boris Johnson’s plan to scrap parts of the protocol “sounded the alarm” in Europe and America.

Speaking at Ton Wolfe’s annual memorial service in Bodenstown, County Kildare, the appointed First Minister told the gathering that it was “an undeniable fact” that the protocol was working.

“Boris Johnson cannot directly, honestly and truthfully admit that this is the case,” added Ms O’Neill.

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Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald (left) and Michelle O’Neill walk towards Bodenstown Cemetery, County Kildare (Brian Lawless/PA)

“Boris Johnson’s attempts this week to sabotage protocol in full view have sounded the alarm in Ireland, the UK, Europe and America, awakening all those who value the Good Friday Agreement and who care deeply about preserving our peace and progress. the past quarter of a century.

“It is not easy to accept that this British government, on a whim, is discarding international law in such a reckless manner and only for its own selfish interests.

“Boris Johnson knows that to risk the protocol is to jeopardize the British government’s exit agreement with the EU and future trade relations with enormous political and economic consequences.

“The Tories have no mandate on this island.

“However, the majority of the newly elected MLAs support the protocol, and the majority in the Assembly support the protocol because it works, giving us permanent access to the European single market, creating jobs and economic benefits.”

We need to make the most of all the economic potential and opportunities for everyone who lives on this island.Michelle O’Neill

Ms O’Neill called on all of Northern Ireland to rejoin the EU and said the Irish government “should be planning constitutional changes”.

“We need EU re-entry for all of Ireland,” she added.

“We need the Irish National Health Service, free of charge at the point of entry. We need to deal with the climate crisis on our island.

“We need to end the duplication of public services.

“We need to maximize the full economic potential and opportunities for everyone who lives on this island.

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The group arrives at Bodenstown Cemetery, County Kildare, for the annual Sinn Féin Wolfe Tone commemoration (Brian Lawless/PA)

“Many people are growing frustrated, impatient and need change.

“The current government of Ireland has the direct task and responsibility of planning constitutional change.

“To avoid the dangers, dangers and pitfalls of a UK Brexit referendum.”

Ms O’Neill also told the crowd that Sinn Féin’s recent success in the Northern Ireland Assembly election reflected “a change in public opinion”.

Sinn Féin became the largest party in the Northern Ireland Assembly for the first time with 27 seats.

The DUP blocked the creation of a new ministerial executive after last month’s Assembly elections in protest of a protocol that created economic barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

Ms. O’Neill reiterated her calls for the DUP to form an executive branch.

“Regardless of religious, political or social affiliation, we strive to make politics work through partnership, collaboration and working with others who want progress,” Ms O’Neill added.

“Sinn Féin wants to work together with others to benefit people. We are ready to form the executive power right now.

“We need to put more than £400m into people’s pockets to help meet the cost of living and an additional €1bn into the health service to cut waiting lists, support oncology and mental health services and hire more doctors and nurses.

“Workers and families are fighting. They need our help.

“DUP needs to stop blocking the leader so we can help people right away.”