Belfast Telegraph

Stormont talks: DUP's Poots suggest parallel process might be on the cards

By Sue Doherty

As Northern Ireland's political parties continue power sharing talks at Stormont, the DUP's Edwin Poots has suggested that a parallel process may come into effect on Thursday.

The parties have been trying to find an end to the political stalemate that followed the resignation of the late Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein as deputy first minister in January and the snap election in March.

The Northern Ireland Assembly is due to sit at Stormont at noon on Thursday, the deadline for the talks. There, are, however, widespread concerns that, should the DUP and Sinn Fein, the two main parties, fail to agree on a power sharing pact, devolution will be suspended.

Speaking to the BBC on Tuesday evening, Edwin Poots, the DUP's senior negotiator, said that, if Thursday's deadline isn't met, "we could have a parallel process".

He went on to suggest: "We can get Stormont back up and running on Thursday again and continue to engage in these matters".

The DUP, Mr Poots said has "no red lines" and could "get  Stormont up and running in the morning" to deal with issues such as health and education".

He challenged Sinn Fein to "come back from the brink, not to be foolish" and "not to engage in high wire acts".

When asked whether a standalone Irish language act was a sticking point, he replied: "We want to see respect of people's cultures and I think it is incumbent on Sinn Fein to recognise that they need to be respectful. We will be respectful of each and every culture in Northern Ireland, of each and every tradition in Northern Ireland."

He said it was important that Northern Ireland's elected representatives deliver on health education, infrastructure and agriculture, "what the public out there need us to work on."

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