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Talks deal in 'days rather than weeks': Martin McGuinness

Published 28/10/2015

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has said a deal in the current inter-party talks could be made in the coming days.

The Sinn Fein MLA said he believed a deal was achievable and that the talks were "intensifying".

Speaking to assembled media at Stormont, Mr McGuinness said: "There are big challenges ahead.

"Is it doable? Is it achievable? I think with a good will on all sides it is achievable and that's what we in Sinn Fein are working for."

Asked for a timeframe, the republican responded: "I do think we are talking more about days than weeks."

Sinn Fein, the DUP, UUP, SDLP and Alliance are engaged in a wide range negotiation including matters around the budget, welfare reform and on how to deal with the past.

Mr McGuinness claimed there had been an attempt to "sabotage" the talks in the last few weeks.

He said: "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."

Mr McGuinness said his own party had not done this, and he did not think the DUP had done so either.

"I do think other parties have done that and it is not conducive to getting a good outcome," he added.

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The current political crisis developed over the murder of Kevin McGuigan in Belfast in August.

Police Chief Constable George Hamilton said he believed members of the Provisional IRA were involved.

Through the course of the police investigation Sinn Fein northern chair, Bobby Storey was arrested. He was later released unconditionally.

In the aftermath of that arrest the DUP pulled all but Arlene Foster out of the Executive with their ministers operating on a rolling resignations basis to prevent others taking their seats.

Following the publication of the government's report into paramilitary activity last week, all DUP ministers resumed their positions.

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