While talks are being paused, cuts to public services are not, says Long

Alliance Leader Naomi Long MLA has said while the talks process is being parked, cuts to vital public services are not.

Mrs Long said she was “hugely frustrated and disappointed” by the decision by the Secretary of State, which will see formal negotiations paused until after the General Election on June 8.

However, the East Belfast MLA said the lack of a functioning Executive was having an impact in society on a daily basis.

“Once the Prime Minister called this snap election, the prospects of reaching any deal became even more remote. However, it has rapidly become apparent the logistics of ongoing formal negotiations during the election period were untenable.

“Alliance is both hugely frustrated and disappointed the calling of the election has derailed the process at such a critical time for Northern Ireland. While we can park the talks, we cannot park the juggernaut of cuts and chaos hitting our public finances and placing in jeopardy our health services, schools and education, voluntary and community sector, infrastructure investment and economic growth.

“The people who elected us need a working Assembly, now more than ever. We hope in this campaign, parties will work to ensure the progress which has been made will not be undone and we will be able to return after the election to urgently deliver what we were elected to.

“Alliance will continue to talk on a bilateral basis and we remain committed to delivering devolution as soon as possible.”

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