Power-sharing talks in Northern Ireland collapse

Power-sharing talks in Northern Ireland collapse

Westminster involvement in Northern Ireland's governance is now "inevitable" following the breakdown of power-sharing talks, according to a former Cabinet minister.

Arlene Foster, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader, said there was "no current prospect of these discussions leading to an executive being formed".

"Given that the DUP leadership has now prevented this the two governments must now move ahead to implement existing agreements on legacy and an Irish Language Act and meet their obligations for equality, by bringing forward legislation on marriage equality".

Ms Foster added the DUP would not be "held to ransom" and that "serious and significant gaps" remain between both sides on the issue of an Irish Language Act.

"It is now incumbent upon Her Majesty's Government to set a budget and start making policy decisions about our schools, hospitals and infrastructure".

"Important decisions impacting on everyone in Northern Ireland have been sitting in limbo for too long".

"We had reached an accommodation with the leadership of the DUP. That is not possible at this time".

She said: "Sinn Fein engaged, we worked in good faith, we stretched ourselves".

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Both Sinn Féin and the DUP blamed each other for the failure of the talks.

A succession of Prime Ministers have worked hard to deliver agreements but there's only so much they can do, ultimately it is down to Northern Ireland's leaders, she added.

"They have now collapsed this process".

"The DUP should reflect on their position".

The DUP, who prop up the minority Conservative government at Westminster, have also called the Prime Minister's visit to Belfast on Monday as a distraction during power-sharing talks.

Direct rule would also mean, however, that the United Kingdom would administer Northern Ireland's abortion laws and the definition of marriage would transfer to Britain, putting Westminster in the "politically toxic" position of deciding whether to overturn the region's abortion ban and legalise same-sex marriage, The Spectator writes.

The British and Irish prime ministers met political leaders in Belfast on Monday, as the two main parties in Northern Ireland edged closer to unlocking a political stalemate that has left the region of 1.8 million people without a government for more than a year.

"The Tanaiste and the Secretary of State are in close contact and we will continue to confer with the British Government about the next steps". Northern Ireland has been without a devolved government since the last one collapsed in January 2017 amid a renewable energy scheme scandal. The UK parliament would have to pass a law suspending the Northern Ireland Assembly to impose direct rule.

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