Belfast Telegraph

Powersharing will ensure DUP deal cash is shared fairly: Gerry Adams

Powersharing at Stormont is the only fair way to distribute money from the DUP's deal with the Conservatives, Gerry Adams said.

The windfall in exchange for the Northern Ireland party's support includes £1 billion of new funding for infrastructure and health spending, along with enhanced flexibility on almost £500 million of previously allocated cash.

If negotiators miss Thursday's deadline for a new agreement to restore devolved government, they face the prospect of direct rule being reimposed from Westminster after months of talks failed to break the impasse.

Mr Adams said any extra money for Northern Ireland is a good thing, adding: "We may be able to say well done Arlene, when we have the Executive in place."

Mr Adams said it was always better to have a ministerial Executive in place.

"The only fair way to get whatever resources come to this place, the only forum or the only decision-making body that can do it in a fair way is the Executive."

Nationalist SDLP leader Colum Eastwood concurred.

"I would like an inclusive Executive that represents all of the people of Northern Ireland to be making sure that money is spent properly and for all of our benefit, not that it is being spent by a Tory party who seem to be under the thumb of the DUP.

"I think that would be a very dangerous place for all of us."

Sinn Fein leader at Stormont Michelle O'Neill warned time is running out to reach an accord on restoring institutions which foundered earlier this year over the DUP's handling of a botched green energy scheme.

Ulster Unionist leader Robin Swann said NHS waiting lists were spiralling out of control and schools did not know whether they had a budget for next year because of financial uncertainty.

He added: "Sinn Fein has the blame to carry if this actually does not deliver for the people of Northern Ireland."

Stephen Farry, a senior member of the cross-community Alliance Party, said the work necessary to clinch agreement could be done over the next two days.

"If we simply leave this process on Thursday with another deadline, I think these talks will have to be viewed as being a failure and most people will see the situation as being quite farcical."

The deal has to be done by Thursday, as set out in legislation at Westminster.

If one is not reached, then Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire must step in and could call another Assembly election within a period.

Stormont has been in limbo for months, with the executive not working since March and no first and deputy first minister since January, when the late Martin McGuinness's resignation forced Arlene Foster from her job as first minister.

Irish foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney is leading the talks alongside Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire.

He said: "The hope would be that the heavy lifting would have been done by tomorrow evening.

"There are some big political issues to be addressed this evening.

"If we are going to get that done, both parties need to be willing to move towards each other's position to try to accommodate each other."

He added: "There are political choices to be made."

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