Talks now need brought to a conclusion, says Farry

Alliance Deputy Leader Stephen Farry MLA has said it is now well past time for the DUP and Sinn Féin to make a deal and form an Executive.

Dr Farry said the two bigger parties had no barriers or excuses left and needed to get beyond the political impasse which has exacerbated problems in health and education, as well as other sectors.

“We are six weeks into this current phase of the ongoing talks saga of 2017. The people of Northern Ireland have shown extraordinary patience in tolerating this situation while the crisis in our health and education systems, and other public services is increasing, opportunities to grow our economy are being missed, and Northern Ireland has no governmental voice in crucial Brexit negotiations.

“Space has been given to the DUP and Sinn Féin to overcome their differences, and to establish if and how they can sustain a workable power-sharing administration. Both have stated in recent weeks they are fully committed to the power-sharing institutions and to getting devolution up and running again. We are told significant progress on a range of issues has been made. Yet, apparently differences on certain matters, notably language and cultural issues, remain stark.

“A deal has always been doable on the restoration of the institutions at any stage. Alliance has constantly played a constructive role in trying to overcome divisions, even in circumstances where we did not believe that standoff was justifiable. In particular, we have tabled comprehensive proposals on a possible way forward on language issues.

“It is hard to imagine what more DUP and Sinn Féin could conceivably discuss on the outstanding issues. If they are simply going around in circles, then they need to admit that and consideration to other forms of self-government then needs to commence. If there is a deal to be done, then it needs to be done now.

“The time has come for the parties and governments to call this talks process one way or another.”

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