Northern Ireland talks to form government to continue

Secretary of State Brokenshire remains optimistic about acheiving political deal in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland talks to form government to continue

World Bulletin / News Desk

Talks between Northern Ireland’s biggest two parties to form a new devolved government in the U.K. will continue despite the process breaching another deadline given by the central Westminster government, according to British state secretary on Monday.

In a House of Commons statement, James Brokenshire said he believed a deal between the parties "remains achievable".

Brokenshire told lawmakers a deal to form a new power-sharing government could be reached “as early as this week” but also warned that “time is short”.

“It has been six months since a full executive was in place to represent the people of Northern Ireland”, and civil servants have made decisions on spending, he said. “This hiatus cannot simply continue for much longer,” he added.

Since the March 2 election, Irish nationalists and pro-British unionists were unable to find common ground on divisive issues such as the Irish language act and legacy issues inherited from decades of violence popularly known as the Troubles.

If the sides fail to reach a deal, the British government may introduce direct rule.

"I continue to believe that a deal remains achievable. And if agreement is reached, I will bring forward legislation to enable an executive to be formed, possibly as early as this week," Brokenshire said.

The previous local administration collapsed in January with the resignation of its Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness over a botched energy saving deal.

The DUP lost support in a March 2 election but managed to remain the biggest party, with a single-seat margin in the Northern Ireland Assembly over Sinn Fein.

But the DUP performed strongly in a U.K. general election last month. In an unprecedented political move, it has become a vital source of support for the U.K.’s Conservative Prime Minister, Theresa May.

A “confidence and supply deal” will see the DUP's 10 lawmakers in Westminster prop up May’s party after it lost its governing majority on June 8.

However, the DUP’s move has caused concerns in Northern Ireland with Sinn Fein describing it as a breach of the 1998 Belfast Agreement, which largely ended decades of violence in the troubled region.

"I am also conscious that, with the deadline now passed, I am under a duty to set a date for a new election. I will continue to keep that duty under review," Brokenshire said.

"But it seems unlikely that would that of itself resolve the current political impasse or the ultimate need for political decision-making, however we proceed.

"As the government for the whole United Kingdom, we will always govern in the interests of all those within the United Kingdom."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 04 Temmuz 2017, 01:06