1. ITV Report

May should be called out for delaying tactics on Irish border – Sinn Fein chief

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald does not want the issue of the Irish border to roll into October. Photo: PA

Sinn Fein’s president has said Theresa May needs to be called out for delaying tactics over the lack of progress for the Irish border.

Mary Lou McDonald expressed concern over the British Government’s position in dealing with the border issue.

It comes after European leaders urged the UK to intensify its efforts so a Brexit withdrawal agreement can be concluded as soon as possible.

Theresa May is facing more questions about the Irish border. Credit: PA

Ms McDonald said “time is running short” and the “antics” of the British Government could not be tolerated.

“From speaking with the French parliamentary delegation, I would have to say that you would get a very strong sense that they are holding to the position that there cannot be a new relationship hammered out with Britain in the absence to the Irish question,” she said.

“It’s now clear that these matters can’t be allowed to simply roll into October. It is clear that Mrs May needs to be called out for the delaying tactics.

“We know that there is a Foreign Affairs Council meeting in July. We are told that it is to be dedicated to the issue of Brexit. We hope that the format can be used to gain clarity and make some progress on these matters.”

Arlene Foster attended the Ulster Final between Fermanagh and Donegal. Credit: PA

The Sinn Fein leader praised DUP leader Arlene Foster for her recent participation in a number of outreach initiatives but called for more political action from the party.

She said: “It is fair to say that we have seen very positive moves from Arlene Foster but that now has to be matched by political advancement and recognition of people’s rights.” Mrs Foster appeared at the PinkNews LGBT event at Stormont and made history by becoming the first DUP leader to attend Gaelic football’s Ulster Final.

The DUP has been heavily criticised by LGBT activists for derogatory comments about gay people and its ongoing resistance to same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

She added: "What now needs to happen is substantive political advancement from that because gestures set the scene, they create the right atmosphere.

“The outstanding issues are Acht na Gaeilge (Irish Language Act), the issues around marriage equality and legacy.

“We need to reach an accommodation and we note that the DUP are in hiding because they are on the wrong side of the Brexit debate. We also know that the RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive) inquiry is up and running and we believe those two things, in real terms, are the rationale for the DUP not acting positively beyond gestures, as terrific as they are.