A leaked copy of the mooted draft agreement between the DUP and Sinn Fein to restore devolution has been published.
After talks aimed at salvaging devolution collapsed last Wednesday, Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald claimed the two parties had reached a draft agreement – which included an Irish language act – but that the DUP had been unable to close the deal.
The DUP has denied a draft deal had been in place.
Journalist Broadcaster Eamonn Mallie yesterday published 13 pages of a draft document on his website.
Mr Maille said: “This website has definitive proof that on Friday evening February 9, named senior Sinn Fein and DUP personnel were corresponding under the heading ‘Draft Agreement Text’.”
Explaining the contents of the document, he added: “On page 5 under the heading: Respecting Languages and Culture, there is specific reference to the Irish ( Respecting Language and Diversity) Bill and the Ulster Scots ( Respecting Language and Diversity) Bill and a Respecting Language and Diversity Bill.
“It has to be stated that square brackets obtain in this eight-line paragraph - meaning it had not yet been signed off and agreed.”
Mr Maille added that the draft document confirms a review of the petition of concern, and also deals with priorities for the incoming Executive – not yet finalised but focused on health and Brexit.