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31/10/2017

Brokenshire Grants Additional 24hrs For Political Parties To Reach A Deal

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has given political parties an additional 24 hours before making a decision on what his next move will be, if an agreement to form an Executive has not be reached.

Parties had until Monday, 30 October, to reach a deal, and the DUP asked James Brokenshire to legislate for a budget.

However, on Monday Mr Brokenshire released a statement which said: "The parties have made further progress during the course of today. They are making certain additional requests of the UK Government which we need to consider.

"In the light of this, I believe it is right to defer the assessment on whether to introduce legislation to Parliament this week to enable an Executive to be formed. The parties will recommence talks in the morning and I will reassess the position tomorrow night."

Ulster Unionist Leader, Robin Swann MLA, said: "In light of the Secretary of State`s statement on Monday evening, clarity must be given as to what Sinn Fein and the DUP have asked for that warrants consideration from the Government, and if these demands are for the benefit of Northern Ireland and its position in the United Kingdom or selfish party interests instead.
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"The people of Northern Ireland have a right to know who made these requests. Are they joint Sinn Fein/DUP shopping lists or are both parties putting additional separate demands on the table?

"We have seen in the past how under the table deals have facilitated despicable arrangements such as the OTR letters to satisfy Sinn Fein demands. This process must not be allowed to facilitate further distortions of the legal process or to provide comfort to former terrorists. Nor should it be used to cement a hierarchy of victims where the focus remains on the State, army, police and intelligence services instead of the terrorists and their apologists.

"It is scandalous that victims of Libyan supplied IRA semtex still wait for compensation, whilst others such as the Hyde Park Justice Campaign are refused legal aid and survivors of institutional abuse are denied redress. Those are some of the things that really need addressed instead of, as seen in the past, some politicians using the cover of talks processes to demand funding for constituency pet projects.

"I want to hear assurances from the Government that there will be no side deals or under the table deals. They must not allow themselves to be held to ransom by Sinn Fein demands which Gerry Adams tries to dress up as rights or offer money as a bung to buy off internal dissent."

(CD/LM)

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