Governments need to consider other approaches to find agreement – Alliance

Alliance Party Deputy Leader, Stephen Farry, has expressed frustration at a political standoff between the DUP and Sinn Féin that has lost a sense of proportion and risks real harm to Northern Ireland.

Mr Farry has also called upon the Governments to urgently consider fresh approaches to finding agreement over the short window ahead, before the NI Secretary of State, James Brokenshire, has to pass a budget for the region.

Stephen Farry said: “Notwithstanding stated progress on a range of other issues, it seems that at no stage over the past nine months have the DUP and Sinn Féin addressed the core issues of dispute between them.

“It beggars belief that the DUP and Sinn Féin are put this matter of Irish language and culture on such a pedestal that they have lost a sense of proportion and perspective on the wider need to provide good governance to Northern Ireland, to reform out public services, invest in our economy, and to have a proper Brexit plan.

“Alliance has a preferred way forward on these language and cultural issues. But the costs and implications of either having a standalone Irish Language Act or not having one are miniscule compared to what else is at stake

“Any return to Direct Rule would constitute a massive reversal in our political process. Given the nature of Northern Ireland, we need power-sharing and local accountability in our governance.

“If there is still time to avoid this, then the Governments urgently need to change the dynamics in the negotiations. This involves moving from a closed DUP-Sinn Féin format towards a more multilateral process, bringing in an external mediator, and making clear that other approaches to the formation of power-sharing government will be considered.”

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