New opportunities to foster positive relations between Britain and Ireland – McDonald

Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD said today that there is a new opportunity to foster positive relations between Britain and Ireland following last week’s historic elections. She said the British Government has the opportunity to embrace the principles of rigorous impartiality and respect the provisions in the Good Friday Agreement for constitutional change.

The Sinn Féin leader also raised the issue of immigration and pressed for bilateral arrangements between Dublin and London to ensure safe return of asylum seekers and welcomed his acceptance for such arrangements to be in place. She also welcomed his decision to end the Tories’ Rwanda plan.  

The Sinn Féin Uachtarán was speaking after she lead a party delegation, including Leas-Uachtarán Michelle O’Neill, and MPs Pat Cullen and John Finucane, in a meeting with the new British Prime Minister Keir Starmer.  

Mary Lou McDonald said, “Today’s meeting marks a historic change, offering a new opportunity to foster positive relations between Britain and Ireland.

“We pressed the British Prime Minister for fair funding and urgent investment in health, education and other public services. We called for an early meeting between the Finance Minister Caoimhe Archibald and the new Chancellor of the Exchequer. The cuts our people and public services have endured under the Tories must end now.  

“We reiterated the need for immediate funding to build Casement Park, to allow us to seize the enormous economic opportunities created by Euro 2028.  The British government is a co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement and that means embracing the principles of rigorous impartiality and respecting the provisions in the Good Friday Agreement for constitutional change.  

“We are hopeful that the new British government will work with the Executive on matters related to the Protocol and Brexit so our businesses and traders can continue to take advantage of our unique access to the EU and British markets. We are optimistic that Keir Starmer recognises there is work to do to reset relationships with the Irish government and the EU.  

“We welcomed the commitment of the British Prime Minister to scrap the Tories’ shameful Legacy Act, which has failed victims and survivors and look forward to seeing the details of what their approach will be.

 “We urged him to back efforts to work for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and the West Bank, an end to the genocide and collective punishment of the Palestinians, the release of all hostages and the establishment of a Palestinian state.  

“Sinn Féin will continue to press the British government on the things that matter most to people, investment in public services, which deliver for all, and the right to take decisions here at home which affect our future.”