Sinn Fein condemns ‘go-slow’ in Stormont talks

A Sinn Fein MLA has hit out at the pace of political talks to revive Stormont, claiming they have gone into “go-slow” mode.

Secretary of State Karen Bradley earlier told the House of Commons that she intends to return to Belfast for meetings as part of the talks process.

It comes ahead of the annual July 12 parades across Northern Ireland celebrated by unionists and loyalists, which have traditionally seen heightened tensions and talks delayed.

However Conor Murphy told media at Stormont on Wednesday that it is “long past time” when the marching season should impact on talks.

He said he is frustrated that the talks have been put into a “go-slow”.

“We have been here trying to address these issues of rights and restoring the institutions on the basis of the Good Friday Agreement, where citizens’ rights and genuine powersharing is at the heart of government, as was envisaged in 1998,” he said.

“The situation here has been unsustainable in terms of the closing down of this institution and we have applied ourselves over the last nine weeks to try and get these issues resolved.

“These issues should have been resolved weeks ago, if not months ago.

“It’s our assessment at the current stage of this that there is very little is going to happen here over the next two weeks and that is not the sort of urgency that is required.

“I find that disappointing and we find that frustrating and I’m sure we are not alone in finding that frustrating.

“I think it is long past time that politics in this part of the island is closed down to facilitate people marching on the 12th of July.

Ulster powersharing
Ulster powersharing

“We need to continue to address with a sense of urgency all of the issues in front of us and get this institution up and running again.

“There is no clear political water … there is no better window coming, there is continued uncertainty in relation to Brexit, there is uncertainty in relation to the British Government itself and the instability and dysfunctionality which is going on there, there is uncertainty in relation to RHI (the Renewable Heat Incentive) and all the other issues.”

The last DUP/Sinn Fein-led powersharing coalition imploded in January 2017 when the late Martin McGuinness quit as Sinn Fein deputy first minister amid a row about the RHI, a botched green energy scheme.

The fallout was soon overtaken by disputes over the Irish language, the region’s ban on same-sex marriage and the toxic legacy of the Troubles.