Sinn Fein To Meet With Irish And UK Governments After Talks Fail

Alliance Party leader Naomi Long

The Northern Ireland government collapsed in January 2017 amid a scandal surrounding an ill-fated renewable energy scheme that jeopardized the sharing of power, a key achievement of the 1998 peace treaty, ending decades of violence.

Sinn Fein is to meet with both the Irish and United Kingdom governments today, 15 February, after DUP leader Arlene Foster confirmed talks to restore power-sharing in NI had failed.

The DUP, who prop up the minority Conservative government at Westminster, have also called the Prime Minister's visit to Belfast on Monday as a distraction during power-sharing talks.

The two parties, representing mainly Catholic proponents of a united Ireland and Protestant supporters of continued rule by Britain, have failed to meet a number of deadlines.

I'm sure the Prime Minister's visit will have been helpful but this is a very, very hard set of circumstances and this is a very sensitive issue.

"That the DUP again demonstrated that they possess a veto over Prime Minister May's Northern Ireland policy decisions highlights the absurdity that the British Government can simultaneously honor its GFA commitment to act with "rigorous impartiality" in Northern Ireland while dependent on ten DUP seats to cling to power".

"Whether it is this week, whether it is in a couple of weeks or whether it's in a couple of months what I must ensure is that we have an accommodation that everybody feels content with".

The DUP has revealed that there was "no current prospect" of an agreement, bringing Wednesday's discussion to an end.

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The British government, which is overseeing the talks alongside the Irish government, has already had to take steps towards ruling the region directly from London for the first time in a decade, setting a budget late previous year that runs until the end of March.

According to DUP leader Arlene Foster, the talks failed due to disagreements with Sinn Fein about legislation for the Irish language.

"We're very hopeful that those two parties will be able to come to an agreement this week", Varadkar said.

"Good Friday was only made possible when the US signaled its interest in Northern Ireland by appointing a capable Special Envoy in the person of Senator George Mitchell", the letter stated.

Sinn Féin wants a stand-alone piece of legislation to protect Irish speakers, but the DUP has long insisted it would only countenance new laws if they also incorporate other cultures, such as Ulster Scots.

"There is the basis of an agreement, and it should be possible to see an executive up and running in Northern Ireland very soon", she said.

But what does direct rule mean?

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