Brokenshire full statement: Deal must now be struck by early May

Nick Mcbride
April 15, 2017

Despite six weeks of the March 2 election, the internal situation remains static, a reality that seems to stall the development of the talks.

"This is likely to mean", he said in a statement, "however undesirable, either a second election or a return to decision making from Westminster".

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams on Tuesday warned the Democratic Unionists it was "decision time" on whether they want to restore powersharing.

Progress is understood to be being made on other contentious issues, such as how to deal with the unsolved crimes and overall legacy of the Troubles.

'There is, however, still a lack of agreement between the parties on a small but significant number of issues.

Disagreements over issues such as an Irish language act and legacy issues were relatively minor compared to the fundamental mistrust between the two largest parties, Ms Long told the BBC's Good Morning Ulster programme.

Mr Brokenshire he believed that an agreement was achievable but "more time and a more focused engagement on the critical issues are required".

The Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan, who has been directly engaged in the talks, said while some progress has been made "there are some challenging issues yet to be resolved".

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"The parties mandated by that election still have a duty to provide the government for which they campaigned", he said on Wednesday.

Brokenshire said that if no agreement can be reached next week, he would have to implement legislation from London allowing councils to set rates, and possibly release expenditure in other areas such as the community and voluntary sector.

"In particular, at this critical and challenging time for Northern Ireland as we approach negotiations on the UK's withdrawal from the European Union, the restoration of a powersharing executive is essential".

"In addition, I believe it is also right to introduce provisions that would enable an Executive to be formed in early May should agreement be reached".

Pressure is mounting on political parties in the North ahead of a deadline to form a power sharing Executive.

He encouraged all parties in the talks to "maintain informal contacts" over Easter and to reflect on what can be achieved with an Executive that operates "effectively and sustainably".

Under the terms of the Belfast Agreement, Northern Ireland must be governed by a joint unionist-nationalist administration.

Other reports by VgToday

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