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Stormont talks: Mood music from DUP and Sinn Fein still discordant

By Noel Mcadam

Sinn Fein and the DUP are still  at odds over the talks to bring back the Assembly and Executive – with negotiations postponed until the week after next.

DUP MP Gregory Campbell warned Sinn Fein had to choose between dealing with the government in London or unionists in Northern Ireland.

But Sinn Fein’s Sinead Ennis said Mr Campbell was “in denial” and the DUP had to accept that only implementation of previous agreements would bring progress.

East Londonderry MP Mr Campbell called on Sinn Fein to use the pause in the political talks to “rethink” their approach.

“The DUP is prepared to establish the Executive and work through the range of problems people from across Northern Ireland face.

“Sinn Fein’s closed mind approach has led to Stormont being closed, it needs to change,” he argued.

Mr Campbell said Sinn Fein should be looking “at the issues which people beyond their closed circle want to get resolved”.

“In short, there is a lot for everyone to think about over the short Easter break, but whatever way the term ‘political decision-making moving to London’ is dressed up, Sinn Fein are going to have to make a choice between working with people they don’t like in London or those of us they would prefer weren’t here in Northern Ireland.”

South Down MLA Ms Ennis said, however: “Gregory Campbell is in denial about the collapse of the political institutions, which was caused by the DUP’s handling of the RHI scandal, and the allegations of corruption associated with the scheme, and by their arrogance and disrespect for whole sections of the community.

“The impasse in the process is about rights and the failure by the British government and the DUP to implement previous agreements on a Bill of Rights, an Irish Language Act and legacy.”

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