UUP walks out at Stormont talks

UUP walks out at Stormont talks

The Ulster Unionist party has walked out of crunch talks at Stormont, aimed at averting a collapse of the Northern Irish Assembly.

Leader Mike Nesbitt says his party will only engage in the talks if the existence of the IRA is the first point of order.

Ulster Unionist Party leader Mike Nesbitt (right) and MLA Michael McGimpsey speak to reporters outside Stormont in Belfast as they arrive for negotiations on the future of the power-sharing administration in Northern Ireland.

He has already led the party out of the power sharing executive amid claims provisional IRA members were involved in Kevin McGuigans murder last month.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan is co-chairing the negotiations with the Northern Ireland Secretary.

Mr Nesbitt is adamant the IRA must be the first item discussed: "They want to discuss implementation of the Stormont House Agreement tomorrow.

“We will not be there,” he said.

UUP walks out at Stormont talks

The intensive talks were launched after revelations the IRA still existed and members shot a man dead in Belfast last month.

Mr Nesbitt said: “This is the issue and the only issue that we will speak on.

“We will consider going into the session which deals with the IRA. We will consider it but we need to see the papers and the terms of engagement.

“That is what we said about going into these talks. Who would be there, what are the terms of engagement and what is the agenda?

“The fact that no other party supported us and said ’let’s change this proposed agenda, forget the Stormont House Agreement until we resolve the issue of Sinn Fein being in denial about the IRA’ is frankly appalling.”

The ministerial Executive at Stormont has been under threat of collapse since police said IRA members were involved in the murder of Kevin McGuigan in east Belfast last month.

Police believe Mr McGuigan was killed by individual members of the Provisional IRA in revenge for the death of prominent republican Gerard “Jock” Davison in May.

Although Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Chief Constable George Hamilton has insisted the IRA is not back on a war footing, disclosure that the organisation still exists has rocked the political establishment.

First Minister Peter Robinson said: “If the Assembly and Executive falls we are probably talking about the best part of a decade before it would ever be revived.

“These are extremely important talks. We enter it in a very serious manner.”

UUP walks out at Stormont talks

Meanwhile the North's First Minister Peter Robinson says concerns over paramilitary activities need to be resolved as part of the current talks.

Speaking on his way out of Stormont this evening Mr Robinson said there could be no agreement otherwise: "The issues that have to be dealt with, all have to be dealt with before anything is agreed by us.

"If the issue of the paramilitary involvement is not resolved then there will be no overall agreement."

More on this topic

Michael D Higgins lauds courage of civil rights protestersMichael D Higgins lauds courage of civil rights protesters

‘Euphoria’ followed violence at Derry civil rights protest‘Euphoria’ followed violence at Derry civil rights protest

Corporation tax cuts 'will transform Northern Ireland's economy'Corporation tax cuts 'will transform Northern Ireland's economy'

Parties reach deal in Stormont giving UK power to cut welfareParties reach deal in Stormont giving UK power to cut welfare


More in this Section

New research study to explore long-term effects of repeated concussionNew research study to explore long-term effects of repeated concussion

Man appears in court in connection with Dublin robberyMan appears in court in connection with Dublin robbery

10 of 31 local authorities publish political donations given to councillors10 of 31 local authorities publish political donations given to councillors

Robert Lawlor found not guilty of threatening to murder ex-girlfriend's partnerRobert Lawlor found not guilty of threatening to murder ex-girlfriend's partner


Lifestyle

Sometimes I think we impose Christmas on our kids. A couple of weeks back, my wife and I were all about The Late Late Toy Show and going to see Jack and The Beanstalk in the Everyman Theatre.Learner Dad: I think we impose Christmas on our kids

For our food special, our Currabinny duo, James Kavanagh and William Murray, dish up their top festive side plates.The Currabinny Cooks: Festive side plates to dish up this Christmas

More From The Irish Examiner