The British and Irish governments should intervene in the event of the failure of the Stormont Executive to guarantee political progress by “other arrangements”, Gerry Adams has said.
The Sinn Féin president was referring to the continuing deadlock with the DUP over a series of issues, most notably the transfer of policing and justice powers from London to Belfast.
“The core of the problem,” Mr Adams said, “is the DUP commitment to partnership government.”
He said some DUP figures had publicly advocated an end to power-sharing involving Sinn Féin, Ulster Unionists and the SDLP.
“They want to get back to what amounts to majority rule,” Mr Adams said.
“We need to be clear, we have all had to pay a price of the peace process and the political institutions that have been put in place. The price which the DUP have to pay is equality and partnership government. There is no other way to go forward.”
He accused some in the DUP of “wanting rid of partnership government”. “That’s not going to happen,” he warned.
Either unionists and nationalists work for progress “or the two governments have to take up their responsibilities and make progress by other means”.
Prior to the 2006 St Andrew’s Agreement, the Dublin and London governments were understood to be close to agreeing moves towards joint authority over the Six Counties, a move which would have been strongly opposed by unionists.
Mr Adams said the St Andrew’s deal provided for this to happen.
However, the DUP hit back, accusing him of “petulance”, while the SDLP said Mr Adams referred to Executive failure as “a scare tactic to cover the failure of Sinn Féin to negotiate anything of real value at St Andrews”.
Mr Adams said his party was committed to solving contentious issues such as an Irish language Act, the future of the Long Kesh prison site and the devolution of policing and justice powers. He said agreement could be reached on these issues after the summer recess.
Meetings of the executive have effectively been cancelled because of the ongoing party discussions between the DUP and Sinn Féin.
The next meeting of the Stormont executive, which has not had a meeting since June, is planned for September 18.