Belfast Telegraph

DUP and SF pledge to end the deadlock at Stormont

Paying respects: Prime Minster Theresa May after the funeral
Paying respects: Prime Minster Theresa May after the funeral
Secretary of State Karen Bradley, Prime Minister Theresa May and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar outside the cathedral following the funeral
Suzanne Breen

By Suzanne Breen

The DUP and Sinn Fein have both insisted they want talks to restore power-sharing at Stormont after a priest at the funeral of Lyra McKee urged them to get back to work.

Arlene Foster pledged that her party would come to the negotiating table in a constructive manner, and Mary Lou McDonald said the current political stalemate couldn't continue.

Secretary of State Karen Bradley will hold discussions with party leaders this week in an effort to restore the Assembly and Executive.

Ms McKee was shot dead by a New IRA gunman during rioting in the Creggan area of Derry last Thursday night.

Speaking at her funeral in St Anne's Cathedral yesterday, Father Martin Magill said: "Why does it take the death of a 29-year-old woman with her whole life in front of her to get to this point?"

Mourners broke into applause as he urged politicians to work together to produce a better life for young people.

"I dare to hope that Lyra's murder on Holy Thursday night can be the doorway to a new beginning. I detect a deep desire for this," he added.

Mrs Foster said she had spoken about the restoration of devolution with Mrs Bradley and Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, who both attended the funeral.

"We want to see the government take steps to ensure talks commence. For our part I want to ensure we can get down to business," the DUP leader said.

"We all need to come to the table in a spirit of wanting to restore the Assembly and dealing with the issues which matter most to people. While we have been able to deliver millions of extra resources from Westminster, we could do so much more though through a restored Assembly and Executive.

"We stand ready to restore our local government immediately and in parallel with a talks process to resolve outstanding issues."

Responding to Fr Magill's remarks, Ms McDonald said: "In a clear, concise way he has said what I have heard all over Ireland. People want the Executive and the Assembly up and running, people want equality and they want good government they can have confidence in.

"Political leaders should be working together.

Lyra’s partner Sara Canning
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"Sinn Fein wants to see the full restoration of the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement.

"Sinn Fein wants to be in government making decisions on issues which impact on the lives of local people."

The Sinn Fein president said her party had told Prime Minister Theresa May and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that the current stalemate was "untenable".

She added: "Sinn Fein is ready to play our full part in a serious and meaningful talks process which removes obstacles to power-sharing, delivers rights, and restores the Assembly."

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