NDNA: Joint First Minister’s Commitment

Oral Answers to Questions — The Executive Office – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:30 pm on 28th June 2021.

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Photo of Sean Lynch Sean Lynch Sinn Féin 2:30 pm, 28th June 2021

T7. Mr Lynch asked the First Minister and deputy First Minister whether the joint First Minister will take this opportunity to reiterate her commitment to New Decade, New Approach (NDNA). (AQT 1477/17-22)

Photo of Michelle O'Neill Michelle O'Neill Sinn Féin

Yes, absolutely. I am fully committed to New Decade, New Approach. That is the basis on which power-sharing was restored in January of last year. All the parties and the two Governments signed up to it, so there is clearly an obligation on all of us to ensure that it is implemented in its entirety. NDNA is a compromise: there are parts that we like and parts that we do not like, but that is how compromise works. It is not up for renegotiation or cherry-picking; it is to be implemented. I take my commitment to NDNA very seriously, and I want all parties to step up in a similar vein to make sure that we all work to make power-sharing work.

Photo of Sean Lynch Sean Lynch Sinn Féin

I thank the joint First Minister for her answer. As the Minister said, NDNA is the basis on which we re-established these institutions. Does the Minister agree that the DUP's decision to vote against a motion to establish a simultaneous translation service in the Assembly was an act of gross bad faith?

Photo of Michelle O'Neill Michelle O'Neill Sinn Féin

As I said, the Irish Government, the British Government and all local parties signed up to the New Decade, New Approach political agreement. For a party to vote against one of the key commitments within that agreement does not demonstrate a faithful approach to its implementation. However, bad faith cannot be a blockage to the access of na Gaeilgeoirí, or anyone else, to their rights. We have to find ways around bad faith, as we did with Acht na Gaeilge and the wider language and culture package.