Skip to content
#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Image: Niall Carson via PA

Coveney urges all sides in Stormont talks to show generosity

The parties have until a January 13 deadline to strike a deal to revive devolution.
Jan 1st 2020, 5:29 PM 7,701 26

TÁNAISTE SIMON COVENEY has urged Stormont’s parties to show leadership and generosity when talks to restore powersharing resume.

Coveney said the new year offered a chance for a new beginning and urged all sides not to disappoint the public again.

Negotiations formally resume on tomorrow after a pause for the festive period.

Coveney and Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith were in Belfast today for pre-talks discussions ahead of the resumption of exchanges with the political parties tomorrow morning.

The parties have until a January 13 deadline to strike a deal to revive devolution.

On that date, legislation to give civil servants additional powers to run Northern Ireland’s public services expires and Smith will assume a legal obligation to call a snap Assembly election.

On the journey up to Belfast ahead of the new round of talks, Coveney reflected on the importance of the coming fortnight.

He tweeted: “2020 can be a new beginning for politics in NI with leadership & generosity from all sides – we’ve got less than 2 weeks – let’s not disappoint again! NEW YEAR, NEW BEGINNING!”

In a subsequent New Year’s Day video posted by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar outlining his government’s priorities for 2020, Coveney added: “We are determined to work with all of the parties in Northern Ireland to get the devolved government back up and running again, to get the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement functioning again, to bring communities together and to ensure that Northern Ireland can make decisions for itself.”

The latest push to restore powersharing broke up the week before Christmas, with UK and Irish governments singling out the DUP as the party standing in the way of a deal.

The party rejected the claims, insisting it would not be “bounced” into a “quick fix” that falls apart when tested.

Devolution can only be restored once the DUP and Sinn Féin agree terms to re-enter a mandatory coalition executive in Belfast.

The other three main parties – the SDLP, Ulster Unionists and Alliance – are also involved in the talks process convened by the UK and Irish governments.

While they could take positions in any new executive, their sign-off on a deal is not essential and a government could be formed in their absence, with those parties having the option of going into opposition.

As the clock ticks down, get all the best Brexit news and analysis in your inbox

Send a tip to the author

Press Association


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a comment

    cancel reply
    Back to top