Questions need to be answered – Alliance MP

Naomi Long praised the school's staff for their swift handling of the situation
Naomi Long praised the school's staff for their swift handling of the situation
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Naomi Long has said a number of questions relating to the ongoing talks process need to be answered before it can deliver an agreement.

The Alliance deputy leader said unionists, nationalists and the British Government all “have serious questions to answer” following their failure to find a breakthrough yesterday.

Naomi Long.

Naomi Long.

Mrs Long said: “There are three big questions that have to be answered.

“First, unionists must clarify whether or not they are prepared to negotiate on parades. There is no chance of reaching agreement if unionists continue to refuse to negotiate on that issue.

“Second, nationalists have to tell us whether they are prepared to face the reality of our financial situation. The Prime Minister was clear – there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Until the nationalist parties accept that any financial package will be significantly smaller then their demands, we aren’t going to get any further.

“Finally, the British Government needs to tell us whether they recognise their responsibility in relation to the past. It is not realistic to expect the Executive to fund that part of the process.”

The SDLP’s Mark Durkan said David Cameron’s offer of more money offered “precious little” that was new.

“Our disappointment with the Prime Minister’s empty package to date does not absolve parties from our responsibility to advance the Haass prospectus to address the past, parades, flags and identity in ways that means that the political process does not continue to be transfixed or convulsed by such sensitive issues. We also need to work on improving the workings of our institutions, and showing more strategic purpose on the structural challenges for our regional economy,” the Foyle MP said.