Brokenshire to meet with parties with hopes of a settlement failing

Ann Santiago
September 5, 2017

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland James Brokenshire is due to have discussions with Northern Ireland's five main parties in Stormont today.

Discussions on the prospect of restoring powersharing in Northern Ireland should be over pretty quickly, Arlene Foster has said.

She told party members: "We have nothing to fear from the Irish language, nor is it any threat to the Union".

Foster said that a series of "one-sided demands" by Sinn Fein had made progress impossible and that they must move to achieve a breakthrough.

"In 2021, Northern Ireland will celebrate its centenary".

She added: "I am not going to be prescriptive but we do not believe that there can be a prolonged set of talks".

Both Ministers are trying to establish whether there is any point in moving to full formal talks to restore Stormont or whether the current level of deadlock means there is no room for compromise and that some form of direct rule from Westminster will become inevitable.

"Certainly for our part we do".

The late Sinn Féin deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness resigned his post over the DUP's handling of the RHI green energy scheme.

"We have no red lines - we have no barriers".

It follows Sinn Fein's rejection of a DUP proposal for an an immediate restoration of the assembly along with a parallel, time-limited process to deal with culture and language.

"If we are to have an agreement then there will need to be a willingness on all sides to reach out in order to secure a durable outcome", she said. Now we stand on the cusp of a new century for Northern Ireland.

Sinn Féin's Northern Ireland leader Michelle O'Neill after she and a Sinn Fein delegation met Mr Brokenshire on Monday afternoon did not rule out such an appointment.

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