Belfast Telegraph

DUP: 'Significant gaps remain' in Stormont talks

The clock is ticking on resurrection of devolved institutions.
The clock is ticking on resurrection of devolved institutions.

A DUP MLA has said that significant gaps still remain between the DUP and Sinn Fein in a bid to break the long running Stormont power sharing impasse.

Politicians have been holding discussions since last month in a renewed bid to resurrect the devolved institutions.

The SDLP, UUP and Alliance joined the DUP, Sinn Fein and the British and Irish governments for a round table discussion along with Northern Ireland secretary Karen Bradley.

Speaking from Stormont Simon Hamilton said the parties are are trying to work their way through all the issues and to bridge the gaps.

He said: "What we want at the end of this process is an inclusive executive sharing power across all the parties for the people of Northern Ireland.

"We have been working intensively with Sinn Fein over the past week and we will continue to do that.

"People are calling out for a devolved government. Decisions need to be made on health, education and in the job sector, so this cannot be a drawn out process."

Mr Hamilton added: "We need to have a budget so we can make decisions across our public sector, although significant gaps still remain.

"We have huge differences between the key parties on a range of key issues and we are continuing to work our way through them, but there are still big - and in some cases quite significant, gaps."

Sinn Fein's Conor Murphy stated although some progress has been made, there are still some gaps.

The Sinn Fein MLA said: "The process will come to an end in the next short while.

"We will then make a judgement then as to whether a deal is possible or not.

The Ulster Unionist Party said it was a day of huge frustration.

UUP MLA Steve Aiken said: "We have seen no progress at all and found it incredibly frustrating.

"It doesn't seem that there has been much progress at all.

"We have been told time and time again that we are becoming closer to a result ..the differences are as wide apart as ever.

Former Stormont deputy first minister Martin McGuinness’s resignation more than a year ago in a row over the running of a botched green energy scheme left Northern Ireland without a devolved government.


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