Residents urge Northern Ireland politicians to get back to work

Talks aimed at restoring powersharing in Stormont collapsed yesterday

Residents urge Northern Ireland politicians to get back to work

Parliament Buildings at Stormont in Belfast yesterday evening as powersharing talks in Northern Ireland ended in acrimony, 14-02-2018. Image: Michael Cooper/PA Wire/PA Images

Members of all communities in the North are urging politicians to get back to work.

Talks on restoring power-sharing broke down once again yesterday evening, with the DUP saying there is currently no prospect of bringing back a devolved government.

In a statement last night, DUP leader Arlene Foster said “serious and significant gaps remain between ourselves and Sinn Féin especially on the issue of the Irish language.”

Sinn Féin meanwhile is claiming the DUP turned its back on a draft deal that would have seen power-sharing restored.

The party's leader in the North, Michelle O’Neill insisted it was ready to strike an agreement:

 “I am 100% crystal clear that we had an accommodation with the DUP across all the range of issues,” she said.

“We had a way forward on all the issues.

“I think, quite rightly so, there was a lot of expectation over the course of the last number of days where people were either briefed or were discussing the fact that there potentially was a deal on the table.

“I am saying confidently that we had an accommodation with the DUP.”

Back to work

However members of all communities in the North are urging politicians to get back around the table.

This 18-year-old man from a loyalist area and woman from a republican area who lost family in the Troubles both want the same thing:

“I just think it is ridiculous that it has taken this long,” said the man.

“It is perhaps indicative of the type of Government that we have that instead of focusing on the things that matter they are letting it break down over issues that have arisen in the past and perhaps people would hope they would have gotten over by now.”

The woman said “both sides need to wise up and get their act together.”

“They are getting paid massive salaries and it is the working class people who are suffering.”

Direct rule

The Irish and British governments have both said they are continuing to search for a way forward.

The Tánaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said there is no appetite for a return to direct rule in the North –adding that he will remain in close contact with the Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley over the coming days.

In a statement he said: "As co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement, the UK and Irish governments have an obligation to uphold and protect the letter and spirit of that Agreement.”

Ms Bradley said the British government is now facing difficult choices:

“We are ready to bring forward legislation to enable an executive to be formed,” she said.

“We will continue to work with everyone to make sure we do deliver this.

“We now need to consider practical steps. In the continued absence of an Executive, other challenging decision will have to be taken by the UK Government.”