Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein says Executive can only be restored if 'rights are implemented and agreements honoured'

By Claire Williamson

Sinn Fein has said the restoration of an Executive is only possible if "rights are implemented and agreements honoured" ahead of a meeting with the Secretary of State.

Sinn Fein's Conor Murphy will tell James Brokenshire on Monday that when talks resume, they should be "short, focused and rigorously impartial".

The Newry and Armagh MLA said: "Sinn Féin is entirely committed to a restoration of the power-sharing institutions but that will only be possible if the British Government get serious about their responsibilities to uphold citizens’ rights.

"It simply isn't tenable that language rights, marriage equality and the right to coroner’s inquests are protected everywhere else on these islands except here. I don't think anyone would seriously want an Executive on that basis, where some citizens are denied the right to equal treatment.

"It is entirely reasonable to expect equality of treatment and it is entirely reasonable to expect that previous agreements are honoured. If everyone can sign up to that when the talks resume, the institutions can be restored in a very short space of time."

Last week Mr Brokenshire confirmed that the stalled talks on resolving the devolution crisis will resume next month, earlier than originally expected.

On his visit to the United States, the Secretary of State said he wanted to "press ahead" with renewed negotiations towards the end of August.

The five main Assembly parties - DUP, Sinn Fein, SDLP, UUP and Alliance - had not anticipated serious meetings would restart until September.

Mr Murphy added that negotiations should be "short and focused on an early resolution".

"It is certainly Sinn Féin's view that the negotiations should be short and focused on an early resolution".

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