Monday 22 May 2017

'If Sinn Féin wins, it will use mandate for border poll' - Foster

Arlene Foster continued with her recent mantra of mentioning Mr Adams as often as possible in her public pronouncements. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Arlene Foster continued with her recent mantra of mentioning Mr Adams as often as possible in her public pronouncements. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Noel McAdams

Arlene Foster has claimed Sinn Féin could win the Assembly election and use its "massive mandate" to demand a "divisive and destabilising" border poll.

The DUP leader also said the election was not a referendum on Stormont's botched Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme. The former first minister argued it would be a "shame" if the RHI controversy was allowed to become a "catalyst to undermine the union".

With just days left before voters go to the polls, Ms Foster said it was quite possible Sinn Féin could win the most seats - meaning unionists, for the first time ever, would not represent a majority in a Northern Ireland Parliament or Assembly.

She also said she believed Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams now wanted to negotiate directly with the government in London, bypassing the DUP and Stormont.

She continued with her recent mantra of mentioning Mr Adams as often as possible in her public pronouncements.

"If Gerry Adams and Sinn Féin win the election, it would give republicans a massive mandate for their demands with the British government.

Sinn Féin's Gerry Adams. Photo: Damien Eagers
Sinn Féin's Gerry Adams. Photo: Damien Eagers

"They would use an election victory as a justification for a border poll, which would be divisive and destabilising," she said.

"Gerry Adams and Sinn Féin would use an election victory for vindication of their position that the border between the UK and the EU should be the Irish Sea - not the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

"Gerry Adams and Sinn Féin would take an election victory for republicans as a mandate to pursue their strategy of putting our soldiers and security forces in the dock and of rewriting history."

Ms Foster said it would not only make devolution harder to restore, but render it permanently unstable.

"Make no mistake, it is not the DUP, but the British government that Gerry Adams and Sinn Féin want to be dealing with.

"It would threaten our economic recovery by undermining the prospects for a reduction in corporation tax and make the needs of the Northern Ireland economy subservient to the narrow party political interests of Gerry Adams and Sinn Féin.

"If, as Sinn Féin has sought, the Justice Department is selected by D'Hondt, it would allow a Sinn Féin justice minister for the first time in history, while the PSNI and security services state that the IRA army council still exists and some believe that it continues to control Sinn Féin."

Irish Independent

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