Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein: Past week of talks more about process than any progress

If no agreement we need to go to another election, says Conor Murphy

Sinn Fein have said if there is no agreement in the next eight days of talks, then there will have to be an election as they described the past week as more about process than progress.

Conor Murphy addressed the media at the end of the first week of talks after the deadline to form an Executive was missed.

He said: "We are at the end of the first week of this phase of talks which followed three weeks of unproductive talks before that.

"The talks this week have all been about process and not about progress."

He added: "We remain focused on getting an agreement and I am sure the other parties feel it. All the parties recognised the step change needed here in the political process in terms of how the Executive works, does business and treats society.

"And apart from the DUP and the British Government, everybody else gets it.

"We need to see that change and agreements made previously implemented."

The MLA said the past week could not be described as a waste of time and that an agreement could be done on Monday "if there was a political will".

"We need an Executive that functions on the basis of the Good Friday Agreement and that is key," he said.

"We wanted to see progress all along, others were focused on the process. A lot of it has been useful."

He added: "The legislation is clear, if there is no agreement then we need to go to another election."

Speaking afterwards, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said they were "miles away from any deal".

The parties have until parliament recess ends on April 18 to reach agreement making Good Friday the deadline.

Read more: Brokenshire sets a deadline of Good Friday for parties to strike a deal

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