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Sinn Fein accuse Theresa May of 'monumental failure' over Tory-DUP pact as Stormont talks stall

Agnes Chambre

2 min read

Sinn Fein has blamed Theresa May's decision to strike a pact with the DUP for the failure to get power-sharing back up and running at Stormont.

Michelle O'Neill, the party's leader in Northern Ireland, said the Prime Minister had set back decades of work in Northern Ireland by agreeing a deal with the DUP at Westminster.

Her comments came after Sinn Fein and the DUP confirmed they had failed to reach an agreement to form a new power-sharing executive in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Low-key talks will continue over the summer, with full negotiations not likely to resume until after the summer.

Ms O’Neill said: “[Theresa May] has set back years of work in Northern Ireland that has been done here. This is a consequence of the DUP supporting the Prime Minister and in turn the Prime Minister supporting the DUP.

"What this constitutes is a monumental failure on behalf of Theresa May,"

DUP leader Arlene Foster told reporters outside Stormont Castle that she was "disappointed" no agreement had been reached.

She said: “We are going to continue talking throughout the summer, I want to send that message very firmly to the people we represent. I think what we want to see is an agreement that everyone can buy into, whether you’re a nationalist or a unionist.

“I hope others involved in this process are looking at the bigger picture as well and are saying if we want devolution, then you need to find an accommodation that everyone can feel comfortable with.”

In the Commons yesterday, Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire said: "If no agreement is reached, legislation in Westminster may then be required to give authority for the expenditure of Northern Ireland departments through an appropriations bill. We have not quite reached that point. That point is coming and the lack of a formal budget is not something that can be sustained indefinitely."

MPs have urged Theresa May to go to Northern Ireland herself in a bid to force a deal but Downing Street confirmed this morning that she had no such plans.

Northern Ireland's executive has been out of action since January, when ten years of power-sharing broke down after a scandal over a renewable heating scheme.

Should a deal fail to be reached, the province's Secretary of State Mr Brokenshire could once again extend the time for talks, call an other Stormont election, or initiate a period of direct rule.

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