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30/10/2017

Political Parties To Reach Agreement By End Of Today

Political parties in Northern Ireland have until the end of today, 30 October, to reach a deal to restore a power-sharing government.

If the parties fail to reach an agreement, Secretary of State James Brokenshire will introduce a budget via Westminster.

Sinn Féin MLA Conor Murphy said that a deal can be done in the political talks but said it must be a deal for all in society.

He said: "A deal in the political talks needs to be a deal for all in our society and not just for the political leaderships of unionism. If the political institutions are to be sustainable then they must be restored on the basis of equality, rights and respect.

"That requires an end to the DUP's denial of rights citizens enjoy everywhere else on these islands, language rights, marriage rights and the right to a coroner's court."

Alliance deputy leader Stephen Farry MLA has emphasised there are alternative ways to save devolution and provide for shared and sustainable government for Northern Ireland.
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He said: "The DUP and Sinn Féin have been given every opportunity to reach an agreement recently. In the event of failure, the Secretary of State has spoken of a glidepath to direct rule. But things aren't so binary - there are other approaches and potential changes to the current rules and framework to be considered before the point of no-return on devolution. 



"Voluntary coalition has been Alliance policy for many years. We are clear this has to be a means of providing coherent and cross-community government, supported by a weighted-majority. If this is a major leap for some at this moment, or not something directly workable today on the current electoral balance, there are still other interventions. 



"Alliance has directly asked the Secretary of State to intervene to provide for reform the Petition of Concern. The mutual vetoes in the hands of the DUP and Sinn Féin seriously hamper free and open debate and decision-making. 



"All of the current issues which appear to be blockages to agreement, including language and culture, could all be addressed through public debate and a proportionate resolution on the floor of the Assembly. Any outcome would reflect the democratic wishes of the people of Northern Ireland."

(CD/LM)

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