No reason to further delay devolution talks, says Farry

Alliance Deputy Leader Stephen Farry MLA has said there is no reason to further delay talks to restore devolution, after the Secretary of State said no process would take place until at least May.

He was speaking after meeting Karen Bradley in London, where she also signalled her intention to extend until the end of August legislation forcing her to call another election if no Executive is formed.

“I met with the Secretary of State today in London and outlined in no uncertain terms to her while we recognise Brexit and local government elections complicate the issue, there can be no excuse for further delaying all-party talks or, at least, preparatory work for them,” said Dr Farry.

“Every day this impasse continues, people continue to suffer, while the lack of public confidence in politics to deliver for our community grows. Issues such as financial pressures in health and education continue, with no meaningful opportunity for MLAs to respond to them and reach better outcomes for those who elected us.

“If and when the Secretary of State seeks any extension in Parliament, she needs to indicate she will put it to better use than the period since November.

“At the very least she must provide a clear indication of when talks will start, how they will be structured and preferably announce an independent facilitator to chair the process. We need clear direction and fresh energy at this point to have any hope of success, rather than more of the prevailing drift.”
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