DUP threat to walk away from Stormont ‘reckless’, says O’Neill

The North's deputy First Minister accused the DUP of ‘playing politics’ with the Good Friday Agreement institutions.
DUP threat to walk away from Stormont ‘reckless’, says O’Neill

Rebecca Black, PA

The North's deputy First Minister has slammed the DUP as “reckless” over a threat to walk away from Stormont over the Northern Ireland protocol.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson reiterated his threat over the weekend to withdraw his party’s ministers from the Stormont Executive if the UK does not take action over the protocol.

Unionists regard the post-Brexit trade arrangements as a border in the Irish Sea, and have urged the UK government to trigger Article 16 of the accord which would suspend elements of it.

Brexit
A sign on a lamp post outside Larne Port with the word ‘No Irish Sea Border’ (Liam McBurney/PA)

The protocol was agreed as part of the Withdrawal Agreement in order to avoid a hard border in Ireland after the UK left the EU.

DUP ministers have been boycotting meetings of the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC) as part of its opposition to the protocol.

During Executive Office questions on Monday, which was the first to be live signed, Ms O’Neill accused the DUP of “playing politics”.

“Threatening this institution and blocking NSMC business whilst attending the British Irish Council in Wales speaks to the DUP’s hypocrisy and dysfunction,” she told MLAs.

“Threatening to walk away from this institution at a time whenever our health care workers, local communities and families are looking for certainty, particularly in the midst of a global health crisis, I think, to say the approach is reckless, is an understatement.”

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