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Sinn Fein refuse to discuss details of matters preventing restoration at Stormont

 

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Sinn Fein's Conor Murphy (centre) speaking to the media at Stormont Parliament buildings, Belfast. Pic: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Sinn Fein's Conor Murphy (centre) speaking to the media at Stormont Parliament buildings, Belfast. Pic: Niall Carson/PA Wire

PA

Sinn Fein's Conor Murphy (centre) speaking to the media at Stormont Parliament buildings, Belfast. Pic: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Sinn Fein has refused to discuss specifically what is holding up a deal to restore government in Northern Ireland.

Speaking from Stormont, Newry and Armagh MLA Conor Murphy said to comment on the discussions would be "unhelpful" at this time.

It comes as the BBC reports that Sinn Fein has called on the British Government to release £150m in funding, pledged under the 2015 Fresh Start Agreement.

Mr Murphy rounded on his party's critics, namely the SDLP.

"People who are criticising us for standing firm in these negotiations need to explain what they mean by getting a deal at any price," Mr Murphy added.

"For our part we are engaged not for selfish political interests but for securing rights for people who support us and the many, many people that don't support us we are here protecting people rights and ensuring any institution that is put back in place is done so on the basis of the Good Friday Agreement."

The SDLP has been asked for a comment.

Talks reconvened on Tuesday after James Brokenshire's Monday deadline passed without any deal. The secretary of state will be forced to set a budget from Westminster in the coming days should the parties not re-establish the Stormont institutions.

 

Ireland's Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney and Northern Ireland Secretary of State James Brokenshire said progress has been made.

The Northern Ireland Executive collapsed in January and the region has been without a power-sharing government since then.

Despite endless rounds of discussions, a deal to restore devolution has proved elusive, with the introduction of an Irish language act seen as the main issue.

In a statement on Monday evening, Mr Brokenshire said: "The parties have made further progress during the course of (Monday). They are making certain additional requests of the UK Government which we need to consider.

"In the light of this, I believe it is right to defer the assessment on whether to introduce legislation to Parliament this week to enable an Executive to be formed.

"The parties will recommence talks in the morning (Tuesday) and I will reassess the position (on Tuesday) night."

Belfast Telegraph