Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein slams DUP call for Direct Rule

Sinn Fein has rounded on the DUP following MP Sammy Wilson's call for direct rule to be introduced in Northern Ireland.

MLA Alex Maskey said the DUP had to clarify "if they're serious about agreement".

"We in Sinn Féin believe a resolution to the current political breakdown is possible if the will is there from all parties," said Mr Maskey.

"However, the DUP leadership needs to clarify whether they are serious about an agreement or not, given this latest rant from Sammy Wilson."

Speaking to the News Letter, Mr Wilson had described the ongoing Stormont talks as a "sham" .

While direct rule "was not his preference", Mr Wilson said "the people of Northern Ireland will be better served by it at this time”.

In response to the comments, an NIO spokesman said: "Northern Ireland needs devolved government, not direct rule, to ensure that effective public services are delivered to all.

"Responsibility remains with the parties to resolve their differences and to get back into an executive to achieve this. That is what is in the best interests of Northern Ireland and why it is the priority of the Secretary of State to restart political talks to achieve this outcome."

Mr Maskey said a lack of progress in the talks would not involve a return to Direct Rule.

“It has failed in the past and will fail again because the only democratic vehicle consistent with the Good Friday Agreement is equal partnership government based on parity of esteem and respect, which commands public confidence and can deliver public services, jobs and bring about a step change in a new political era."

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