Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein's hardball stance the stumbling block

Editor's Viewpoint

It is disappointing but no surprise that the parties at Stormont are still deadlocked. The DUP and Sinn Fein continue to blame each other for the impasse.

More effort is often expended to avoid been seen as the stumbling block than in trying to reach a compromise.

While it is often impossible to say definitively which party has proved to be least accommodating, it is evident that this time Sinn Fein has been wrong-footed by events and, at the very least, must sell itself to its baseline supporters as driving the hardest bargain.

After all, it brought the power-sharing administration down because of what it perceived as a lack of respect from the DUP.

With the unionist party cock-a-hoop given its pivotal position with the Government, Sinn Fein has to play hardball.

This has led to the party refusing to compromise on issues such as an Irish Language Act, legacy initiatives and same-sex marriage demands.

Politicians in other parts of the UK and the Republic must gaze on in puzzlement at the impasse, which flies in the face of the idea that politics is the art of the possible.

It seems clear that both the British and Irish Governments are running short on patience over the repeated crises at Stormont. In the past the London and Dublin leaders would have flown in to the rescue, often with an input from Washington.

Now the attitude is perceived as a weary shrug of the shoulders and a muttered hope that local politicians should sort out their own problems.

There's no magic bullet to change the mindsets of those determined to play political games at the expense of the vast majority of the population.

Gerry Adams said relationships between Sinn Fein and the DUP are at an all-time low.

It should be pointed out that his interventions do little to improve the atmosphere and has led many to wonder if republicans are really interested in restoring power-sharing.

Sinn Fein is resistant to every pressure except that of the people in its heartlands.

Effectively those people are now voiceless as Sinn Fein doesn't sit at Westminster, Stormont is in abeyance and Dublin is keen to keep the party at arm's-length.

The Secretary of State seems content to let negotiations go on while most people would like to see MLAs face the sanction of losing their pay.

This shows the public is losing patience, but the potential of losing votes is the only sanction politicians understand.

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