Belfast Telegraph

Repercussions of Tory/DUP deal 'severe for Northern Ireland'

The Alliance Party has claimed the repercussions of a DUP, Conservative pact to allow the Tories to operate a minority government will be "severe" for Northern Ireland amid calls for an independent talks chair to be appointed in place of James Brokenshire.

Northern Ireland's political parties are to resume talks aimed at restoring Stormont's devolved institutions on Monday following a pause to allow for the General Election.

Parties have called for an independent chair to be appointed given the prospect of a deal between the Tories and the DUP in forming a UK government. Parties have called for James Brokenhire, the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, to be replaced as talks chair.

The Alliance Party's Stephen Farry told the BBC: "There's now a massive problem, he cannot be an impartial broker.

"The government will have one hand behind its back and if it tells the DUP to agree to something it doesn't want to then the DUP will pull the plug and the whole thing will come crashing down.

"We cannot stop them from making this deal, but the repercussions for Northern Ireland are potentially severe."

SDLP MLA Nichola Mallon also said Mr Brokenshire could not be considered "an honest broker".

"How can you have a secretary of state sitting as an honest broker when they already have a deal with one of the parties sitting around the table?" she said.

Former Sinn Fein finance minister Mairtin O Muilleoir said the government would now be "dancing to the DUP's tune".

Sinn Fein party president Gerry Adams said: "Sinn Fein has never accepted that the British government is impartial or neutral.

“If the DUP don’t prioritise the restoration of the institutions, and instead decide to become a prop for a dysfunctional minority government in London, then the parties should consider inviting an independent chairperson to oversee proceedings.

“Sinn Fein has already raised this at the beginning of the talks process some months ago. Sinn Fein will be meeting the governments and the other parties tomorrow. We will continue to press ahead for a speedy return to the institutions while monitoring closely the machinations in London.

“On a more positive note the focus by the mainstream British media on the DUP’s policies and history is belated but a welcome education for people in Britain.”

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