O'Neill "disappointed" about government stance on Brexit status

She was speaking at the Civic Dialogue forum on Brexit

O'Neill "disappointed" about government stance on Brexit status

Michelle O'Neill, the new Sinn Fein leader at Stormont. Picture by Liam McBurney PA Wire/PA Images

Sinn Féin's northern leader Michelle O'Neill said she is disappointed at the Irish government's stance on Northern Ireland's special status for Brexit.

Joining party leader Gerry Adams in Dublin today for the plenary meeting of the Civic Dialogue forum, Ms O’Neill said:

"I very much regret that that government has decided not to support a designated status for the North. I believe that a special designated status and acceptance of the Remain vote there should be official government policy and should become the overarching objective in the Article 50 negotiations.

“This is especially important in light of the decision in the British Parliament last week by the Conservative Party, the DUP, the UUP, and UKIP to vote against protections for the Good Friday Agreement in the wake of Brexit.

"Our Government needs an equally robust focus on Irish national interests that are in the interests of all of the people on the island of Ireland. The Civic Dialogue and sectoral meetings can contribute significantly to the response of the island of Ireland to Brexit. I look forward to working with the Government when the election in the North is over."

IRA commemoration

Earlier, she defended her attendance of an IRA commemoration following criticism from Northern Ireland's First leader Arlene Foster.

"There are some who would say we have no right to remember or to honour them, we have absolutely every right.

"Everyone, it doesn't matter who you are, has the right to remember their dead in a respectful and dignified manner," she said. 

The event remembered four men who were shot dead by the SAS in her home village of Clonoe in 1992.

Soldiers opened fire on them as they dumped a lorry used in the machine-gun attack in February 1992.