TALKS: Best agreement yet, but it is still not ideal, says Robinson

First Minister Peter Robinson speaks to the media in the Great Hall at Parliament Buildings, Stormont, following the conclusion of political talks
First Minister Peter Robinson speaks to the media in the Great Hall at Parliament Buildings, Stormont, following the conclusion of political talks

Peter Robinson said it is the best agreement yet achieved – but is still not ideal.

Mr Robinson said: “Of course every one of us would have liked to have had a more comprehensive and complete agreement but this is as much and more than we have ever been able to do on these issues in the past.”

His sentiments were shared by other parties in the Executive.

Alliance’s David Ford welcomed the financial package but said: “On parades, the can has been kicked down the road again, right into the middle of another contentious marching season.”

SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell likewise said: “On parades, there is an uncertain process with an uncertain outcome in an uncertain electoral period.”

He added there was also “no action” on a Finucane Inquiry or Irish Language Act.

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt said the main issue had been finances, adding: “That is where the majority of the effort went from the five parties of the Executive and that is where the major input came from the London government, with a very significantly enhanced offer.”

Martin McGuinness also acknowledged that work still remains, when he pledged Sinn Fein will be “building on the progress made”.

He said: “It is our intention to carry this positive work forward in the time ahead.”