Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein, DUP, SDLP and Alliance Party refuse to attend summer drinks reception being held by Karen Bradley

Karen Bradley
Karen Bradley

Four political parties have refused to attend a summer drinks reception being hosted by Karen Bradley on Tuesday as power-sharing talks stall.

The event is due to be held at Stormont House. The Northern Ireland Secretary is leading talks involving the five main Stormont parties and this Irish government.

The DUP, Alliance Party, SDLP and Sinn Fein have all confirmed they are not attending the event.

When asked whether her party would be attending the drinks reception on BBC NI's Sunday Politics, Sinn Fein vice president Michelle O'Neill said: "Absolutely not."

"I think it's fairly typical of Karen Bradley and her whole approach to citizens here.

"Throughout her tenure in office as secretary of state, she has failed even to give any pretence of impartiality.

"She has failed in terms of her understanding of our politics and our people; she has failed the historical institutional abuse victims; she has failed the victims of the past; she has failed left, right and centre in my opinion."

An SDLP spokesperson said: “We’re focused on the talks. The public wants us working to secure a return to government rather than attending drinks receptions.”

The power-sharing talks appear to have stalled over the weekend, with DUP leader Arlene Foster taking to Twitter saying that Sinn Fein's demands "needs to change so we can get agreement which respects all parts of our divided society".

Last month victims of historical abuse in Northern Ireland gathered to protest against the Secretary of State's handling of a compensation scheme for survivors. 

Victims said that Ms Bradley was using victims as "emotional blackmail" in a bid to break the deadlock in the cross-party talks aimed at restoring the assembly.

Ms Bradley has denied the accusation, saying she will do "everything in her power" to ensure victims are compensated as soon as possible.

Ms Bradley has also faced criticism after admitting she did not understand traditional voting patterns in Northern Ireland before she took the job.

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