Talks deadline put back for third time

Stormont.
Stormont.

Crisis talks aimed at saving power-sharing in Northern Ireland are to be extended for a third time, in a bid to give political parties more time to strike a deal.

It is understood parties will be given three weeks after the June 8 general election to reach a settlement.

Secretary of State James Brokenshire, who had set early May as a revised deadline for the talks process, is expected to announce a stretch in the negotiating period on Friday.

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson said the onus was now on Sinn Fein to embrace power-sharing.

He added: “An extension of the talks deadline will not in and of itself bring an agreement. Sinn Fein needs to step up to the mark and embrace the concept of power-sharing. That means a government based on consensus, rather than a Sinn Fein wish list.”

Yesterday, the republican party accused the government of wanting power-sharing in Northern Ireland to fail.

Michelle O’Neill, Sinn Fein’s leader in the Province, said: “They don’t want an Executive that is going to take a firm stand against Brexit because obviously the majority of people here voted to remain in the European Union.”

But Mr Donaldson hit back by saying: “It is rich of Sinn Fein to say that the UK government does not want power-sharing to succeed, when the only party standing in the way of devolution is Sinn Fein.”