Both the DUP and Aontu have reacted strongly against the vote in Westminster to impose abortion, and same-sex marriage on the North unless the devolved institutions are up and running by October 21st.
DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds said it was “fundamentally wrong” for Westminster to legislate for issues such as marriage and abortion which are devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly. He warned that the vote could act as a disincentive to Sinn Féin to restore the Stormont institutions before October 21st.
“It is not right that we should drive a coach and horses through the devolution settlement in relation to certain issues which people feel passionately and deeply about here but which are the subject of devolved powers in Northern Ireland and at a time when there are real prospects of discussions taking place among the political parties leading to an agreement for the restoration of devolution. The effect of taking decisions before agreements are reached is to skew those negotiations,” he said.
Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín said the emergency legislation was “an attack on the Good Friday Agreement, the devolution of power and the will of the people of the north of Ireland.”
He added: “It is outrageous that British politicians with no democratic mandates in Ireland should seek to change this law in the north of Ireland. Shockingly, despite all of this Sinn Féin and the SDLP have remained completely silent.”