Eastwood: DUP hasn’t heeded message from public

Colum Eastwood, leader of the SDLP
Colum Eastwood, leader of the SDLP

The SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said the collapse of the all-party talks at Stormont was due to a failure to “engage in creative compromise on key elements of former agreements”.

Mr Eastwood largely blamed the DUP for the collapse, accusing them of showing intransigence during the negotiations – although he did not specify which issues the DUP was allegedly refusing to compromise on.

He demanded that the secretary of state must now “create space immediately for a reconvened and refreshed process”.

He said the election at the start of the month had been borne of a general public frustration with the way Northern Ireland was being governed, but that “after weeks of talks, the DUP clearly hasn’t got that message”.

He added: “We have reached common ground over the last few weeks.

“But rigid opposition to compromise on key issues, particularly from the DUP, has made a comprehensive resolution more difficult to reach.

“Our common ground should not be scorched to serve the interests of one party.”

Irish Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan said “it has not yet been possible to make the necessary breakthroughs on a small number of core issues”.

He also did not stipulate exactly what these issues were.

His statement continued: “This is a critical time for Northern Ireland.

“We are on the cusp of the triggering of Article 50 by the UK government.

“It is the strong wish of the Irish government to see power-sharing re-established so that the interests of the people in Northern Ireland are best protected and advanced.

“I therefore urge the parties to avail of the remaining time available to re-engage on the few outstanding issues that divide them.

“I remain available in Belfast for further discussions.”