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DUP pact is playing fast and loose with peace, Adams warns

17 June 2017

The 1998 Belfast Agreement, also known as the "Good Friday" Agreement commits the United Kingdom and Irish Governments to demonstrate "rigorous impartiality" in their dealings with the different political traditions in Northern Ireland.

The Government has warned that direct rule from London could be reimposed if the local parties fail to reach an agreement before the June 29 deadline.

Before her visit, Sinn Fein's leader at Stormont Michelle O'Neill said: "I will be making it very clear that any deal between the Tories and the DUP can not be allowed to undermine the Good Friday and subsequent agreements".

"Both the Government and the DUP have refused to implement key agreements on language and equality rights and dealing with the legacy of the past", he claimed.

We are concerned about the signals Ms May sends about women's rights and LGBT rights by coming to an accommodation with the DUP, but we are also anxious about the significant consequences for peace in Northern Ireland.

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"Northern Ireland's political leaders now have it in their hands to take control and shape a brighter future for everyone in Northern Ireland".

"If the institutions are to be put in place they need to be sustainable, viable and properly resourced".

It is thought Mrs Foster, despite being a Brexit supporter, could seek assurances from Mrs May that she will pursue a softer exit from the European Union, given Northern Ireland's 56% Remain vote and the DUP's desire not to see a return to a hard border with Ireland. Ruth Davidson, leader of the Conservatives in Scotland, sought assurances that LGBT rights would be protected after any deal with the DUP, which opposes same-sex marriage.

"These are the priority issues for us".

They have been accused of sacrificing the UUP and SDLP, the centre ground of Northern Irish politics, for the polarised extremes of the DUP and Sinn Fein.

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He added that today's meeting with Mrs May was Sinn Fein's first visit to No 10 without Mr McGuinness.

The dispute has prompted renewed calls for a chairman from outside the United Kingdom and Ireland to be appointed.

"We have worked as a party with the DUP before and those are productive talks".

The proposed deal would see the DUP back the Conservatives in votes on the Budget and confidence motions.

"I want to record my deep-seated concern and, I believe, the deep-seated concern of many, not just in Scotland but across the United Kingdom right now, at the prospect of some sort of grubby deal between the Tories and the DUP to allow Theresa May to cling to office", she said.

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Alliance leader Naomi Long struck a more optimistic note as she left Downing Street.