Independent mediator can help talks, says Farry

Alliance Deputy Leader Stephen Farry MLA has said an independent mediator would help give the talks process much-needed impetus.

The call comes ahead of a party delegation meeting with Secretary of State James Brokenshire later this afternoon. Dr Farry said while an arbitrator may not have been appropriate before due to time constraints, that was no longer an issue.

“It is clear the talks process is in even deeper difficulties than before, with the trajectory heading towards direct rule. However, devolution is the only credible way forward and we must exhaust every possibility to ensure an accountable local Government is in place.

“In spring, Alliance asked both Governments and the other parties to consider the appointment of an independent mediator. The talks deadlines, albeit theoretical ones, were always imminent and so the view was it would take too long to identify such a mediator and brief them on the issues.

“While the outcome of talks remains urgent, we are looking at a time frame of at least mid-October before Parliament returns and has to make decisions on the best way forward for Northern Ireland. Given the DUP and Sinn Fein clearly have huge difficulties in talking directly to each other and are increasingly engaged in megaphone diplomacy, there is an opportunity for a mediator to provide a constructive role to try and get both them and other parties to understand the reasons why devolution collapsed, why there is an ongoing impasse and how a common way forward can be found.”

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