No deal expected on power sharing, says Gerry Adams

Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire will make a statement to the House of Commons outlining the British Government’s intentions, with no agreement likely ahead of today’s deadline.

It comes as Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams admitted a deal to restore powersharing is unlikely within the agreed timeframe.

Mr Adams said the door was still open but there had been no sense of urgency around piecing together an agreement.

A series of deadlines have been missed to restore multi-party devolved government in the North.

“I don’t believe that there is going to be a deal by Monday. The DUP are showing no urgency or no real inclination to deal with the rights-based issues which are at the crux and the heart of these difficulties which we are talking here about.”

He said those included republican demands for an Irish Language Act, a Bill of Rights, marriage equality, and dealing with the legacy of decades of past violence.

“Unless they step-change I just cannot see. I just cannot see how, and we told them this directly, how a deal can be put together by then.”

The UK Government extended the talks process until today despite Stormont parties missing Thursday’s deadline set in law. In the absence of agreement, the options open to Mr Brokenshire include setting another deadline for the talks process, calling a second snap Assembly election, or re-imposing some form of direct rule from London.

The institutions imploded in January when DUP leader Arlene Foster was forced from office after Sinn Féin’s then deputy first minister, the late Martin McGuinness, quit. That was in protest at the DUP’s handling of the renewable heat incentive, a scheme that left the administration facing a £490 million (€558m) overspend.

One of the main sticking points is over Sinn Féin’s call for an act to officially protect the Irish language.

Republicans argue that bestowing the status on the language would represent a major step towards respect and equality for all in the North. The DUP has said it supported Irish-medium school education during years of devolved government and has accused Sinn Féin of politicising its use.

Mr Adams was one of thousands attending a marriage equality rally on Saturday in Belfast. He added: “If there is a step change, part of that step change is for everybody to understand that equality and respect has to be at the heart of the institutions.”

Mr Brokenshire told Q Radio he could see where areas of compromise may lie.

“But we are not there yet and time is running short,” he said.


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