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15/06/2017

Prime Minister To Hold Talks With NI's Five Main Parties

Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to hold talks with Northern Ireland's five main parties in London later today, 15 June.

The DUP, Sinn Féin, the UUP, the SDLP and Alliance are to hold separate discussions with Mrs May.

She has already met with the DUP to seek a deal to support a minority Conservative government.

Sinn Féin Leader in the north, Michelle O'Neill, insisted that any DUP-Tory arrangement should not be allowed to undermine the peace process.

She said: "I will be making it very clear that any deal between the Tories and the DUP cannot be allowed to undermine the Good Friday and subsequent agreements.

"It's imperative that both governments recommit to the word, spirit and implementation of the Good Friday Agreement if there is to be any prospect of re-establishing the Executive.
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"The power-sharing institutions collapsed because of the DUP's RHI financial scandal and the refusal of previous Tory governments and the DUP to implement previous agreements.

"Progress will not come from a deal between the DUP and Tories to prop up a government in Westminster with an austerity and Brexit agenda but through the full implementation of the agreements and an Executive that respects the rights and delivers for all in society."

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood said: "The context in which the talks process is now being asked to operate in could have very serious consequences if there is any suggestion of a back room deal with the DUP. We will be asking the Prime Minister to be open with politicians and also with the public.

"The SDLP are clear that any deal struck must not hinder cross-community confidence in our politics. We are steadfast in our commitment to devolution and are ready to work with all willing partners to restore the devolved institutions in the interests of all our people."

(CD/JP)

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