Michelle O’Neill has called for an end to the DUP boycott of Stormont and for the executive to be immediately restored.
The Sinn Féin vice president’s comments came after DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson confirmed his party will not restore Stormont after voting against the Windsor Framework.
“The onus is on the British and Irish governments and all parties – not least the DUP – to now get Stormont moving,” Ms O’Neill said.
“It’s time to move forward. We need to see the assembly and executive working now to address the problems in our health service and deliver for business, for workers and families.
“We now have unprecedented economic opportunities to strengthen our economy and create more and better jobs.
“Further blocking the formation of an executive will only deepen the chaos caused by Brexit and discourage international investors.
“Our people and our economy can’t wait. We need stability, and we need to see the executive in place without any further delays.
“The public have been punished for long enough by this futile and shameful DUP blockade.”
Meanwhile, DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson said he cannot commit to the British Government that “we will restore the political institutions”, as Stormont needs to be restored on a “sustainable basis”.
Speaking in the Commons, Mr Donaldson said: “Surely our shared objective here… is to see the political institutions in Northern Ireland restored and therefore, we need to continue engaging with the Government to get this right. My party is committed to doing that.
“We are committed to continue working with the Secretary of State, working with the Prime Minister, and that has to be about delivering on the commitment given to protect Northern Ireland’s place within the internal market of the United Kingdom.
“That where EU law is applied to facilitate cross-border trade, that it does not impede our ability to trade with the rest of our own country within the internal market of our own country. That is the bottom line for us.
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“And until that is resolved, I can’t commit to the Government that we will restore the political institutions – it’s what I want to do, but we need to get this right. I want Stormont restored on a sustainable basis, on a stable basis where there is cross-community consent and consensus. That does not exist at the moment.”
The DUP leader said his party will continue to “work intensively to solve these issues… in the knowledge that what has already been achieved has been because we were not prepared to accept the undermining of Northern Ireland’s place within the union of the United Kingdom”.
Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris, in his concluding remarks, told the Commons: “Denying the people of Northern Ireland will not only deny them the basic right to an effective, stable government, but will also deny them the full democratic input into the laws that apply to Northern Ireland, and that denial cannot be justified.
“These regulations give domestic legal effect to this democratic safeguard and restores the UK’s sovereignty.”