Theresa May calls for 'one final push' from Northern Irish parties to agree new executive

Prime minister says that parties must “find a way to work together” so politicians can retake power from civil servants



 


PA

By John Ashmore

14 Feb 2018

Theresa May has urged Sinn Fein and the DUP to make "one final push" to reach a power-sharing agreement at the Stormont Assembly.

Civil servants have been running Northern Ireland since January of last year as it has been without an executive following then Sinn Fein leader Martin McGuinness’s decision to pull his party out in protest at the DUP's handling of a renewable energy scheme.

Both parties emerged from March’s subsequent elections as the assembly’s two largest parties but have so far failed to agree new power-sharing arrangements.​ However, DUP leader Arlene Foster said there had been "very, very good progress", while her Sinn Fein counterpart Mary Lou McDonnell said negotiations had reached a "decisive phase". ​


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The prime minister was in Belfast yesterday for what she said were "full and frank" conversations with all five main assembly parties, as well as holding discussions with Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar.

"Today I have been meeting the leaders of the main parties involved in the talks and I have urged them to make one final push for the sake of the people here in Northern Ireland," she said.

"It has been thirteen long months since we last saw devolved government here and I think we are now at the point of where it is time for the locally elected representatives to find a way to work together and to deal with and tackle the many pressing issues facing Northern Ireland."

Civil servants in Northern Ireland warned late last year that the parties needed to agree a new deal or face intervention from Westminster to deliver a Budget.

Officials have been running the devolved administration since March as a result of political deadlock following elections to the Stormont Assembly, but legal spending limits covering the current arrangements mean a new budget must be set by the end of November.​

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