Declan Kearney – 2022 Statement on the Northern Ireland Assembly Elections

The statement made by Declan Kearney, the Sinn Féin National Chairperson, on 14 May 2022.

The 5 May election has indeed proved to be the most important of a generation. It was a watershed.

Brexit changed everything, and now the political and societal landscape has changed again.

There can now be a First Minister for all – for the first time in 101 years.

And there is now the potential for proper power sharing to be established.

However, that positive democratic agenda is now being directly threatened with a refusal by the DUP to allow the power sharing and the north/south political institutions to be restored.

The most serious and profound political crisis of the post-GFA era is currently unfolding in plain sight.

The entire basis of power sharing is being imperilled by the tactics of both the DUP and the Tory government; and in particular, a toxic alliance between the Tory Foreign Secretary, the Economic Research Group (ERG) and the DUP.

International treaties and international law in the form of the Protocol and GFA are under direct attack.

A wrecker’s charter is being used to dismantle the GFA by stealth, alongside the use of a phoneywar against the EU, ostensibly to dismantle the Protocol.

But the fact is that the Tories’ objective is all about shoring up its electoral coalition in England; while the DUP’s objective is to try to reassert itself as the dominant force within political unionism, and stem the hemorrhage of its political power and influence in the north.

The current Tory administration has no investment in, or attachment to the Irish peace process. The Tory fat cats in Whitehall don’t care about anyone in the north.

This current leadership of the DUP is unable and unwilling to adapt to the changed political landscape.

The Tories and the DUP are outliers in terms of respect for international treaties and all forms of democratic conventions, principles and values.

The Tories and DUP must not be allowed to drag us all into their race to the bottom.

This is a defining moment.

The EU, and the US administration, must hold firm on the GFA, and the primacy of international treaties and international law.

There should be no renegotiation of either the Protocol or GFA.

It is time for the Irish government to step firmly up to the mark, and adopt an unequivocal position against the destructive behaviour of both the DUP and the Tories.

The united voice of wider civic society across the north must also be heard loudly.