In response to intense media speculation around the recent talks process aimed at restoring the Stormont Executive, DUP leader Arlene Foster has issued a statement – emphatically restating her assertion that “no deal” was reached.
Mrs Foster said: “Following this morning’s media reports, I can clarify categorically that Nigel Dodds did not attend any meeting where any document was handed over to Sinn Fein.
“It is disappointing that there are some people who want to sow discord amongst unionists when there is none.
“The latest round of Talks failed because Sinn Fein wanted a one-sided deal. In a divided society any deal must be fair and balanced.
“There was never any agreement reached. Papers were exchanged but a paper on the Irish Language had no more standing than a paper on SF Ministers implementing the Military Covenant.
“On the final Friday of the Talks, I released a statement saying there was more work to do. The selectively leaked papers show there were square brackets showing no agreement.
“Commentators even concluded there was no agreement. Regardless of spin or document titles, the evidence points to there being no agreement.
“With little to no prospect of devolution being restored soon, I am focused on getting decisions made for everyone in Northern Ireland through Westminster.
“Arguing over the scraps of negotiations ignores the serious issues that need addressed.”