Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein cut short Stormont talks saying Secretary of State's contribution was 'waffle waffle waffle'

Sinn Fein have cut short their meeting with Northern Ireland Secretary of State James Brokenshire.

Sinn Fein's leader in Northern Ireland Michelle O'Neill and Gerry Adams accused Mr Brokenshire of engaging in "waffle, waffle and more waffle" over legacy issues.

Mr Brokenshire has been meeting Stormont party leaders in an attempt to persuade them to form a new power-sharing executive.

The parties have three weeks to overcome their differences following the snap Assembly election.

Speaking afterwards Michelle O'Neill said: "We needed a fundamental change in approach from the British Government. We made that very clear to James Brokenshire today.

"All he did was waffle, waffle and more waffle in relation to how we are going to go forward and give families what they need, which is access to due process as per the request of the Lord Chief Justice.

She added: "We called the meeting to an end because we had more waffle. We called the meeting short and asked him to go and reflect on that."

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said that money for legacy inquests had been set aside, at the request of the Lord Chief Justice, as part of a previous Stormont agreement, known as the Fresh Start Agreement.

He added: "Some families have been waiting 45 years. This affects all victims regardless of who the perpetrators have been. They need to get those inquests underway. They have been delayed, stopped and prevented because the British refuse to give the funds.

"(On Monday) (Mr Brokenshire) said he would reflect on that. It is clear that if he had reflected he had come to no good conclusion."

Sinn Fein has met with the DUP and further meetings are planned, said Mr Adams. He added this was an indication that issues were being tackled.

Speaking after the talks Mr Brokenshire said: "We are getting on with a further round of discussions with all the parties during the course of today

"They have been business like, there is a sense of the urgency of what is at hand here, the significance of the issues we are dealing with and getting back into the devolved government at the earliest possible priority.

"That's what's motivating me, that's what I'm getting on with doing."

On Tuesday morning DUP leader Arlene Foster met with her freshly elected MLAs for the first time following the election.

Following the meeting Mrs Foster said she was "delighted" with the support she had received from her party colleagues and  denied reports that a third of her party's newly returned members of the legislative assembly wanted her to step down.

She added: "We are focused on the restoration of devolution and making sure that we have that stability for the people of Northern Ireland."

Meanwhile former Northern Ireland secretary Lord Hain said Prime Minister Theresa May must call an urgent summit to restore the Northern Ireland Executive or direct rule will be inevitable.

However, a Government source has said there is no reason for Mrs May to become intensively involved in post-election talks at this stage.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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