Swann: Publish details of any ‘accommodation’

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th February 2018 - ''Press conference at Parliament Buildings, Stormont with Ulster Unionist Party leader Robin Swann.''Photo by Philip Magowan  / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 14th February 2018 - ''Press conference at Parliament Buildings, Stormont with Ulster Unionist Party leader Robin Swann.''Photo by Philip Magowan / Press Eye.

The DUP and Sinn Fein have been urged to publish the details of any “accommodation” the two parties came to before talks collapsed.

Sinn Fein’s Northern Ireland leader Michelle O’Neill said that her party had “reached an accommodation with the leadership of the DUP”, but that the DUP had “failed to close the deal”.

Earlier this week, DUP leader Arlene Foster said “good progress” had been made in the talks, before announcing that there is no longer “any prospect” of a deal to restore power-sharing.

Ulster Unionist Party leader, Robin Swann MLA, has urged the two parties to publish the details of any agreement they had come to.

“Here we are again,” he said. “This talks process has ended in another shambles. This is what happens when you allow an exclusive two-party process to fester. It has resulted in stalemate, polarisation and failure.

“The question must now be asked, is the door to devolution still open or is it firmly closed? The Ulster Unionist Party is a devolutionist party and we firmly believe we need local politicians making locally accountable decisions.

“However Northern Ireland and its people can no longer be held to ransom by those who don’t have their interests at heart. We have neither direct rule nor devolved government.

“That cannot continue. If we are at the stage where a budget has to be set again in Westminster, so be it.”

He added: “The DUP and Sinn Fein should now have no fear in publishing what they have agreed so far. Print it, publish it online – do it whatever way they want, but it is vitally important that the people of Northern Ireland know what ‘accommodation’ they did reach. It’s time to front up. And if they won’t do it then the government should print what it knows.

“The DUP and Sinn Fein need to take responsibility for their own decisions, explain clearly how they arrived at those decisions and why.”

Mr Swann said it was “ridiculous” that the stalemate was allowed to continue for so long without consideration being given to “alternatives such as voluntary coalition”.