Printer Friendly

Unionism 'won't get better deal' Alliance leader Long slams DUP for collapsing talks.


A DRAFT deal to restore powersharing is the best unionism will get, Alliance said yesterday.

The DUP and Sinn Fein are at loggerheads over whether there ever was a proposed agreement.

Broadcaster Eamonn Mallie has published a 13-page draft document which confirms proposals for Irish and Ulster Scots language commissioners and a central translation unit at Stormont.

Alliance leader Naomi Long said: "Sadly, unionism has made compromise a dirty word.

"That means we know there'll never be a better deal for unionism.

"Problem is, when you spend years circling the wagons, you're not able to move forward without major realignment."

Mr Mallie has said the document was sent by DUP negotiators to Sinn Fein on February 9, days before the negotiations collapsed.

Its contents included extending the period before the Assembly folds after the resignation of a first of deputy first minister from one week to 24 and a review of the Petition of Concern which is used to M07 block controversial measures from becoming law Health system reform and addressing the implications of Brexit were to be a priority, while there was also a commitment to elect the justice minister in the same fashion as the rest of the Stormont ministers.

A section on respecting languages and culture was surrounded by brackets, meaning it was still up for discussion.

It outlined plans for three separate Bills, dealing with Irish, Ulster Scots and the importance of respect and tolerance.

An Irish Language Bill bestowed official recognition and provided for an Irish Language Commissioner to promote and facilitate its use throughout the whole of Government. Ulster Scots would also enjoy official recognition and a Commissioner would be established. A central translation hub would be established in the Department of Finance to provide services across government.

The document said the parties would establish a committee to consider the creation of a Bill of Rights.

Differences on same-sex marriage were noted and it was anticipated that the issue would be fully considered in the form of an Assembly Private Member's Bill.

Senior Democratic Unionist Edwin Poots said his party entered the talks to reach a fair and balanced deal but that was not achieved, hence there was no agreement.

He added: "We hope to pick up the process in the future. Therefore, the DUP will not be publishing any of the talks papers as it would be an act of bad faith.

"If others wish to publish elements of the talks that's a matter for them.

"Such a publication will not undermine anything that the DUP has said in public or private."

When you circle the wagons, you can't go forward NAOMI LONG YESTERDAY

No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2018 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 22, 2018
Previous Article:Concern over hotel plan for playing fields.
Next Article:McDonald: May no plan for devolution.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters