DUP and Sinn Féin given more time to reach power-sharing agreement

Written by Agnes Chambre on 31 October 2017 in News

Stormont executive collapsed in January after Sinn Fein withdrew from the power-sharing agreement over a heating scandal

Image credit: PA

Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire has given the DUP and Sinn Féin more time to reach a power-sharing deal after the latest round of talks broke up without an agreement.

The Stormont executive collapsed in January after Sinn Fein withdrew from the power-sharing agreement over issues including a heating scandal and the DUP being unwilling to sign up to an Irish language act.

The Northern Ireland Secretary said “further progress” had been made but they were making “certain addition requests” of the Government which needed to be taken into account.

Brokenshire said the progress meant the decision on whether to introduce primary legislation allowing Westminster to set Northern Ireland’s budget should be delayed.

He extended the deadline another day for a new administration to be formed, and laid out the alternatives as being another assembly election or direct rule.

Yesterday the DUP accused Sinn Fein of “dragging its feet” and called on Westminster to introduce primary legislation to break the impasse.

The party added it will continue with talks because “devolution is best for Northern Ireland” but warned it did not want a “bad agreement cobbled together to suddenly suit the timetables of others".

Sinn Fein said a deal “can be done” but the DUP must drop its “red line demands”.

Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Smith said the implementation of direct rule would be a “major step backwards”.

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