Belfast Telegraph

DUP welcomes Sinn Fein 'change of tone' in Stormont negotiations

The DUP has welcomed a speech by Gerry Adams confirming Sinn Fein's commitment to reaching a powersharing deal.

Mr Adams told crowds at a commemoration ceremony for hunger strikers in Ballymurphy: "Sinn Fein is fully committed to the powersharing institutions and we're working to restore them.

"Our opponents, including elements in the DUP, the Fianna Fail leadership and others claim that Sinn Fein is no longer interested in the Assembly. That's a lie and they know it."

Responding to the Sinn Fein President's remarks, DUP MLA Simon Hamilton said: "Gerry Adams' change of tone is a step forward. The DUP has had no preconditions and stands ready to reestablish an Executive immediately.

"Whilst language and culture are important so too are decisions on health, education and infrastructure."

Mr Hamilton added: "We will be engaging with Sinn Fein this week. We want to see government restored. We want to see culture and language matters fairly addressed. We will not accept cultural supremacy for one section of our community. There is enough space in Northern Ireland for mutual respect and a shared future."

A series of talks between the main parties aimed at restoring the devolved institutions at Stormont have so far been unsuccessful.

Sinn Fein has said there can be no return to government without a stand-alone Irish Language Act and a commitment from the DUP to allow the introduction of same-sex marriage.

The DUP insisted their party has no red line conditions for a deal.

DUP leader Arlene Foster has suggested a "cross-community" language act including provisions for Ulster Scots as well as Irish could be introduced as a compromise.

However, Sinn Fein's northern leader Michelle O'Neill rejected the proposal.

Secretary of State James Brokenshire has previously indicated that if a resolution is not reached by mid-October, direct rule may be introduced.

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