NI Secretary Urged To Hold Intensive Stormont Talks

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Julian Smith is under pressure to call an intensive round of all-party talks to break the Stormont deadlock.

The Ulster Unionists urged the MP for Skipton and Ripon to intervene in the wake of a messy Assembly session on Monday, during which the DUP attempted to block the extension of abortion rights to women in Northern Ireland.

Monday's return to the Assembly came 1,008 days since power-sharing broke down in 2017, with many implying that events in the chamber have pushed the region further away from the return of devolved government.

UUP Leader Robin Swann said the Secretary must act in the absence of political will and ability to debate the issues facing Northern Ireland.
News Image
"Unfortunately in the current atmosphere, if today is anything to go by, it would appear that future meetings of the Assembly can only lead to a further deterioration in relationships," the north Antrim MLA commented on Monday.

A recall petition tabled by the party for Tuesday has since been withdrawn.

"Some may ask is Stormont worth saving?" Mr Swann added.

"The Health Service is in crisis - people are literally dying while they wait on appointments - and yet there is no sign of any genuine willingness on behalf of parties to find a way out of the political cul-de-sac which devolution is currently parked in.

"Northern Ireland cannot wait another 1,000 days for the return of devolution. If there is to be no devolution, there is only one alternative. And that's direct rule."


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

13 June 2005
The 2005 Birthday Honours List for Northern Ireland
The full list of recipients of honours in the 2005 Birthday Honours list for Northern Ireland is as follows: Knighthood: Mr Hugh Orde OBE, Chief Constable, Police Service of Northern Ireland - for services to Northern Ireland. CBE: Mr Robert David Stewart Campbell, Belfast - For Political and public service.
16 February 2006
Hain announces Northern Ireland Bill
Secretary of State, Peter Hain, has today introduced new legislation to the House of Commons to help pave the way for future devolution of policing and justice in Northern Ireland.
20 February 2007
Northern Ireland goes to Washington
Washington DC is to experience Northern Ireland’s arts and culture during a four month programme to promote arts, business, education, food and tourism.

 Around 250 local people will be in Washington taking part in the Rediscover Northern Ireland programme and the Smithsonian Institution’s Folklife Festival.
08 January 2008
Local Policing Powers Target Date Recedes
While Unionists have insisted the IRA Army Council would have to be completely disbanded before enough confidence exists for the proposed devolution of policing and justice powers, the issue is being discussed at high level today.
24 April 2006
DUP attend British-Irish Inter Parliamentary talks
The DUP are to attend a meeting of the British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body today in Killarney, after boycotting the body for the past 16-years.