Belfast Telegraph

It's time for deadlock at Stormont to end

Editor's Viewpoint

The call from Sinn Fein to the Secretary of State for the urgent resumption of Stormont talks is timely. The trouble, of course, is knowing whether or not it is yet another republican tactic to wrong-foot the DUP.

It has been almost seven weeks since the formal talks process broke up and it is time for the parties to get around the table again.

Over the last few weeks there have been more and more examples of pressing issues affecting a wide spectrum of people.

Not least of these is the demand for £70 million of cuts to the health budget and the absence of a local voice in the Brexit discussions.

Significantly, former Secretary of State Lord Hain has called on the Government to soften its approach to taking the UK out of the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

He has claimed that such a move could result in the province losing a large amount in peace funding, because the EJC oversees around £240m of reconciliation grants here.

Peter Hain knows Northern Ireland better than most of his Westminster colleagues and his views should be taken seriously.

Many people might be forgiven for failing to understand some of the more complex financial implications of Brexit for Northern Ireland.

However, the vast majority of people here are acutely aware of the need for Stormont politicians to deal with urgent issues such as health and education.

The recent marching season was negotiated to avoid major outbreaks of trouble, but the issues arising out of bonfires on both sides have shown how volatile community relations can be in some areas.

The resumption of talks and the search for a solution depends directly on the willingness of politicians on both sides to yield on some points in a common search for peace.

Some of the bitter exchanges in recent weeks show how little mutual respect there actually is.

But we can only hope that Sinn Fein's call for talks to begin again indicates a commitment to do business.

Northern Ireland needs to see Stormont up and running as soon as possible.

If our politicians really have the will to make this happen, they can find a way of doing so.

However, the longer the delay at Stormont, the greater the problems will just pile up.

People on all sides want action.

Belfast Telegraph


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