Talks given extra time as Brokenshire fudges deadline
Talks given extra time as Brokenshire fudges deadline


The British government has called for further talks to restore the Stormont Executive after efforts so far fell well short of reaching today’s ‘deadline’ for forming a power-sharing administration in the Six Counties.

In a statement issued as the deadline passed, the British Direct Ruler James Brokenshire called for an extra few weeks to reach a deal.

The deadline for appointing Ministers passed at 4pm on Monday with little headway made on resolving a backlog of issues which have been accumulating for years or decades.

Today, Brokenshire backed away from his legal requirement to rerun the Assembly election. He also shied away from overtly reimposing Direct Rule from London. Instead he said Stormont civil servants would take control of the Six County departments from Wednesday.

“We remain resolved to see a positive outcome,” Brokenshire said in relation to the talks, and that he would allow additional time of “a short few weeks” for the negotiations to be extended.

Yesterday, Sinn Fein gave up on meeting today’s deadline after the DUP failed to show for talks. The DUP leader, Arlene Foster, claimed that there “wasn’t a spirit of compromise” within Sinn Fein to create a new power-sharing executive.

Her Sinn Fein counterpart, Michelle O’Neill, countered that the DUP was responsible for the failure of thee talks. She said: “We came at the negotiations with the right attitude, wanting to make the institutions work, wanting to deliver for all citizens.

“Unfortunately, the DUP maintained their position in relation to blocking equality, delivery of equality for citizens - that was the problem.”

The 26 County foreign minister, Charlie Flanagan, said the passing of the deadline without a deal was “deeply regrettable”.

Flanagan said: “It is particularly concerning that a vacuum in devolved government in Northern Ireland should now be occurring just as the island of Ireland faces up to the many serious challenges represented by the UK exit from the EU.

“In these circumstances, all concerned must redouble efforts to achieve the re-establishment of power-sharing government in Northern Ireland, which is so plainly in the interests of all its citizens.

“The Irish government will continue to advocate very strongly for Northern Ireland’s interests to be protected. However, there is no substitute for an Executive speaking with one voice on these critical issues.”

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