Armstrong challenges Secretary of State on impasse plan, as Northern Ireland reaches 500 days without a Government

Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong has challenged the Secretary of State to reveal how much longer she will let the political impasse continue, as Northern Ireland reached 500 days without a Government.

Strangford MLA Ms Armstrong said the milestone was “shameful”, as budgets continued to be slashed, organisations faced closure and important decisions not taken.

“The Secretary of State needs to accept her handling of the talks process so far has been nothing short of a failure,” said Ms Armstrong.

“We have now reached 500 days without a functioning Government and the effects are clear to see – not least because we are currently left without any mechanism for decision-making, leading to more setbacks and frustration.

“Alliance’s Next Steps Forward document, designed to break the impasse and bring stability by restoring devolution, are the still the best chance of resolving the stand-off. Key to them are all-party talks chaired by an independent mediator, which is what we need to see urgently if we are to make the institutions work again.

“Five hundred days without a Government is shameful but it cannot be allowed to go on any more. There is no indication the Governments have decided where to go from here, so I call on the Secretary of State to reveal immediately how she plans to tackle the social, political and economic problems facing us.”

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