NORTHERN IRELAND EXECUTIVE COLLAPSES

10 years of power sharing government between unionists and nationalists collapsed today when Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness resigned his position as the Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland.

Mr McGuinness resigned after the Democratic Unionist First Minister Arlene Foster, refused to stand aside in the wake of the so called Cash for Ash scandal, which has seen her survive a vote of no confidence in a special session at Stormont over the Christmas recess.

In his resignation letter, Mr McGuinness quelled rumours that his resignation was down to ill health, adding that if a snap election was called, and the DUP and Sinn Fein were returned to office as the largest parties, he wouldn’t stand for ‘the status quo’

“Over the last 10 years I have worked with DUP leaders and reached out to unionists on the basis of equality, respect and reconciliation.

“Over this period the actions of the British Government and the DUP have undermined the institutions and eroded public confidence.

“Sinn Fein will not tolerate the arrogance of Arlene Foster and the DUP.”

Under the power sharing agreement, if Sinn Fein doesn’t nominate a replacement for Mr McGuinness, then the Secretary of State, James Brokenshire, has the authority to dissolve the assembly and order snap elections.  Under this period, Northern Ireland would return to direct rule from London, with actions being made through orders in council. However, speaking to Sky News, Mr Brokenshire urged the parties to work together to find a solution to the crisis.

“I would urge Northern Ireland’s political leaders to take the necessary steps to work together to find a way forward and I will work with all parties and the Irish government to this end.”

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at a press conference announcing his intention to resign

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at a press conference announcing his intention to resign

 

Northern Ireland Secretary of State, James Brokenshire

Northern Ireland Secretary of State, James Brokenshire

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