Alliance reiterates call for talks mediator

Alliance Deputy Leader Stephen Farry has reiterated the Party’s call for an independent mediator to be brought in, after James Brokenshire outlined his plans to pass a Northern Ireland Budget in the House of Commons.

Mr Farry said a mediator was one step the Secretary of State could take towards a more inclusive and multilateral format to negotiations, urging the UK Government to also consider reforming the structures and mechanisms – including the Petition of Concern.

Stephen Farry MLA said: “The DUP and Sinn Fein have been given ample space over the past 10 months to resolve their differences and to achieve a foundation for the restoration of the devolved institutions. The issues at stake should be more easily solved than in previous negotiations, so major questions must now be asked about the commitment of both those parties to making Northern Ireland work.

“Alliance remains a strong advocate of power-sharing devolution. It is the only way to translate the nature of our society into government and provide local accountability.

“It is sadly inevitable that the Secretary of State has to now intervene to pass a Budget for Northern Ireland. This is essential to ensure that Departments have the necessary cash flow and the legal authority to spend money, but a wider gap remains which will hinder these resources being spent efficiently and effectively in future reforms.

“Alliance remains committed to the Good Friday Agreement. We are not giving up on devolution and to that end are reiterating our calls for an independent mediator to brought in, allowing for a more inclusive and multilateral format to these negotiations. Alongside this we would again push the UK Government to consider reform to the current structures and mechanisms – including the Petition of Concern – that currently create unreasonable vetoes.

“Even at this eleventh hour, there are still alternatives to full Direct Rule being imposed.”

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