Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland descending into utter chaos - time to move on: How Greens, TUV and PBP reacted to talks collapse

With Northern Ireland "descending into utter chaos," the DUP and Sinn Fein have shown "weak leadership," Green party leader Steven Agnew has said.

He was reacting after talks between the two parties aimed at restoring government collapsed with DUP leader Arlene Foster calling for direct rule.

Green Party leader Steven Agnew expressed his deep frustration.

“Yet again, despite attempts at optics to the contrary, we see the outworkings of a talks process that was restricted to two parties that have proved time and time again that they cannot deliver," he said.

“With healthcare, education and everything in Northern Ireland descending into utter chaos, these two parties have yet again demonstrated weak leadership and an inability and unwillingness to to take that crucial step forward into the unknown to deliver a peaceful settlement and a functioning Executive.

“We have warned that it is madness to keep doing the same thing over and over again and to expect a different result. I am deeply disappointed to have been proven right by the latest turn of events.

“I hope that at this point the Secretary of State will learn from what has happened and will now turn to more imaginative solutions that can help to bridge the seemingly impossible chasm between the DUP and SInn Fein.

“We trust that the Secretary of State will now widen her gaze beyond these two failed negotiators and will meet to discuss our proposals for a Citizen’s Assembly that could play a vital part in leading Northern Ireland out of the current political impasse.”

'Time to move on'

TUV leader Jim Allister said it was "time to move on" and implement direct rule.

He said: "I welcome the fact the DUP has faced some measure of reality. With Sinn Fein never in Stormont to make Northern Ireland work this was an overdue conclusion to the present pointless talks.

“However, they need to go further and accept that things can only move forward by fully accepting the demonstrated reality that mandatory coalition can and will never work.

“This system of devolution is doomed to constant deadlock and failure. Only a coalition of the willing stands any chance of success. If such is not attainable then we need government from the only other place it can come from, Westminster.”

'We need a civil rights movement'

People Before Profit's MLA Gerry Carroll said there needed to be a new civil rights movement.

"Arlene Foster and the DUP have made plain their unwillingness to enact basic rights for people. The talks process failed because the DUP continue to hold people’s rights to ransom. Shame on them."

"The DUP can block the talks, but they cannot stop the growing desire for change amongst the vast majority of people here."

"50 years ago a mass movement of people power was put on the streets to demand basic rights in this state. Now is the time to rediscover that spirit, and build a new civil rights movement. One that can reach across the divide and fight for basic rights for the LGBT community, for women and for Irish speakers.”

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