Vanity projects putting devolution at risk, says Long

Vanity projects, mistrust and a lack of respect between the larger parties is putting devolution at risk, Alliance Leader Naomi Long has said.

Mrs Long said she did not believe a talks deal could be reached by this weekend’s deadline because of a series of “minor differences”, a situation she described as “ludicrous”.

“It has become increasingly clear over the past few days there is little prospect of a deal by the end of this week. However, it is certainly not the case the issues we are dealing with are insurmountable but rather the depth of mistrust and lack of respect between the bigger parties which are the barriers to successfully reaching a deal.

“Nineteen years ago yesterday, parties were able to sign the Good Friday Agreement, despite the huge gaps between parties, because the will was there. It is extremely concerning issues which are relatively small in comparison could effectively be the undoing of devolution in Northern Ireland. That is a ludicrous situation.

“If we do not restore devolution, we have lost this project. We have invested in this over my entire lifetime to get from where we were in the early 1970s to where we are now. You do not throw that away lightly. You certainly don’t do it over what are relatively minor differences and vanity projects.

“I am appealing directly to the other parties to make the effort to get this deal done in the next few days. Look at the consequences of failure for the people who elected them. We need to deliver for the people who asked us to do exactly that.”

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