Farry says talks process must become more inclusive

Alliance Deputy Leader Stephen Farry MLA has said the talks process must become more inclusive, after Sinn Féin claimed the current phase was over.

Dr Farry said the process to date had mainly been a “two-party conversation without any impetus” which needed to change if they were to have a chance of success.

“It is clear the talks in their current format are not going to produce a result which sees powersharing restored. The DUP and Sinn Féin have had ample space in the past few months to reach agreement but have failed to do so. That is why the UK Government have now stepped in to set a Budget.

“However, instead of simply declaring the current phase of talks as over, there should be a change to make them more inclusive by bringing in all parties and widening the conversations. In addition, a change of the structures, such as reforming the petition of concern mechanism, would allow issues still causing blockages to be debated on the Assembly floor.

“An independent mediator would also give the talks a boost which the process has been missing to date. They will be able to play a constructive role to try and get all parties to understand why devolution collapsed, why the impasse remains and how we can find a way forward.

“Without an inclusive approach, an Executive cannot be restored in any sustainable format, and we will continue to hurdle down the tracks towards full Direct Rule.”

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