Belfast,Northern Ireland. Talks between UK and Irish authorities on talks aimed at a power sharing compromise are hitting some choppy seas, as the fate of governance in Northern Ireland now hangs in the balance.
The talks aimed at restoring a power sharing government in Northern Ireland, an MP has warned are at risk. With just over a week left before the deadline on discussions between the Northern Irish parties, the prospect of what has been called “direct rule by stealth” now appears to be at hand.
Sources at the negotiations in Belfast, which are continuing over the weekend, said the British government will be forced to introduce legislation that would transfer power from some departments back to London by the end of this month.
Included are the departments of finance and health. The last power sharing executive failed to set a budget and in the absence of a new administration being formed before the deadline. A London directed emergency budget would allow for cash to be released for the province’s health service.
The political wing of Sinn Féin has warned of a fresh round of elections if the talks fail, but the more likely short term is the transfer of some powers from Belfast to London while the British and Irish governments try for a third round of negotiations in early summer.
The republican party has accused London of pandering to the DUP’s attempts to “block equality” at the talks. The biggest sticking point is Sinn Féin’s demand for an Irish Language Act, which would put Gaelic on an equal par with English in Northern Ireland and would create, for instance, the right to have a court case heard solely in the Irish language.