Contact

Party leaders voice need for ‘compromise’ ahead of crunch Stormont talks

Speculation abounds over who will replace Derry MLAs Colum Eastwood and Raymond McCartney

Stormont

Party leaders in Northern Ireland have again voiced the need to restore power sharing as talks are set to resume tomorrow.
This week both Sinn Féin and the SDLP spoke of the need to get beyond “slogans and soundbites” by finding a resolution.
If indeed a deal is struck, it is unclear at this stage who will replace former Foyle MLA Colum Eastwood at Stormont following the SDLP Leader’s successful Westminster election.
Speculation has also surfaced that Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney will step down in the coming weeks paving the way for the return of Elisha McCallion or Fiachra McGuinness - son of the late Deputy First Minister.
The Derry News contacted both parties for clarification but did not receive a response at the time of going to press.
Before Christmas, the British and Irish governments pointed the finger at the DUP over a failure to restore devolution, a position the DUP flatly rejects.
Commenting on the need for an agreement to be reached this week, Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald said: “The outstanding issues can be resolved. The time for acrimony and division is over. The time for slogans and soundbites is over.
“The test now for every party that has talked up getting back to work is to go back to the Executive table and deliver.”
SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MP has said that parties must enter today’s negotiations prepared for the compromises necessary to restore power sharing.
He said: “Later this week, after months of talking about partnership and compromise in TV debates and newspaper articles, political leaders have the opportunity to show that it wasn’t just talk.
“For almost three years we have been without a government to deal with hospital waiting lists, pay parity for healthcare workers, the funding crisis in our schools and the welfare cliff edge about to hit tens of thousands of families. It’s time to get back to work.
“The SDLP has made compromise proposals already. With less than two weeks to secure a resolution, all parties must be prepared to stretch themselves in the substantial common interests of all our communities.”
Meanwhile, UUP Leader Steve Aiken said his party is committed to building a better government through a “restored and reformed” Assembly and Executive.
The British and Irish governments had been holding talks with the parties, however, they were paused over the Christmas holidays.
The parties have until January 13 to negotiate a deal, otherwise Northern Ireland Secretary of State Julian Smith says he must call a fresh assembly election.
January 16 will mark three years since Stormont collapsed, when the late Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness resigned in protest over the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal.

If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Derry Now editorial team on 028 7129 6600 for Derry City stories Or 028 7774 3970 for County Derry stories. Or you can email editor@derrynews.net or editor@derrypost.com at any time.


Read more from Derry Now.

More News

Buy the e-paper of the Derry News and the County Derry Post here for instant access to Derry's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Derry with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.