“Time is marching on, and we are seeing little evidence of substantial movement between the DUP and Sinn Fein on the key issues frustrating the return of devolved power-sharing. Every day this crisis continues, we are seeing untold damage being inflicted on our public services and our economy is being held back.
“Instead, the trenches being dug ever deeper for a long-term game of attrition, and publicly the parties painting themselves into tighter corners, especially relating to an Irish Language Act.
“Alliance does support an Irish Language Act but it should not be a red-line issue for anyone. Being realistic politically, it is hard to see how a resolution to the formation of government can be found without some agreement on language issues. Crucially, irrespective of anyone’s views on such an Act, the scale of what is involved in conceding it or addressing the issue in another way, is dwarfed by the scale of the damage to our economy and wider society on a daily basis due to this impasse.
“It is well past time for more realistic discussions on what is involved in a resolution. Yet on one side, we have Sinn Fein unable to fully explain what they are seeking in terms of an Irish Language Act and on the other, the DUP and other voices within unionism scaremongering about what such an Act would contain, and the implications arising from it. They both need to step back and gain perspective, get real and get the job done before it’s too late.”