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Stormont power-sharing talks intensifying, warns Martin McGuinness

Published 28/10/2015

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness said the process to secure power-sharing is intensifying
Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness said the process to secure power-sharing is intensifying

Only days remain to clinch a power-sharing deal in Northern Ireland, the Deputy First Minister said.

Martin McGuinness said the talks process is intensifying.

But he criticised some of the other Stormont parties involved in negotiations.

"The difficulty about recent times is that some parties can't get out the door quick enough to say something which negatively feeds into what we're trying to do."

Asked about a time-frame for a resolution, he added: "We are talking more about days rather than weeks."

The Stormont Assembly has been in disarray since the murder of a man by IRA members in August.

Kevin McGuigan, 53, was shot dead in front of his wife in the staunchly republican Short Strand area of east Belfast in what police believe was a reprisal for the murder of a one-time associate and former IRA commander, Gerard "Jock" Davison, 47, three months earlier.

A police assessment that individual members of the Provisional IRA were involved in the shooting has piled pressure on Sinn Fein to explain how the supposedly defunct organisation still exists and prompted unionists to pull out all ministers but one from the power-sharing Executive.

Sinn Fein has rejected the accusations and Mr McGuinness has challenged political rivals making claims about the party's links to criminality to "put up or shut up".

Prior to the McGuigan murder, the future viability of the institutions had already been in doubt as a consequence of long-standing budgetary disputes, with the row over the non-implementation of the UK Government's welfare reforms the most contentious.

The Stormont House Agreement was struck in December 2013 following weeks of intensive talks and included a package of measures designed to protect benefits claimants.

However, Sinn Fein pulled its support for welfare reform earlier this year, accusing the Democratic Unionist Party of acting in bad faith.

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