Long: ‘Questions need answered if talks are to succeed’

Alliance Deputy Leader Naomi Long has said Unionists, Nationalists and the British Government have serious questions to answer, if the all-party talks are to deliver an agreement.

Speaking after the Prime Minister and the Taoiseach left Stormont, the Alliance Deputy Leader said: “There are three big questions that have to be answered.

“First, Unionists must clarify whether or not they are prepared to negotiate on parades. There is no chance of reaching agreement if Unionists continue to refuse to negotiate on that issue.

“Second, Nationalists have to tell us whether they are prepared to face the reality of our financial situation. The Prime Minister was clear – there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Until the Nationalist parties accept that any financial package will be significantly smaller then their demands, we aren’t going to get any further.

“Finally, the British Government needs to tell us whether they recognise their responsibility in relation to the past. It is not realistic to expect the Executive to fund that part of the process. This is a pressure that doesn’t exist elsewhere in the UK and if we get an agreed package of measures they have an obligation to fund them.

“Unless Unionist and Nationalist parties and the British Government are prepared to address these issues we won’t have a deal before this Christmas, or even next Christmas.”

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