Michelle O’Neill has blamed the DUP for the collapse of talks to restore government in Northern Ireland after a 13-month absence, saying Arlene Foster’s party “failed to close the deal”.

The Sinn Fein deputy president and the party’s leader at Stormont said the two parties had reached an accommodation. She said the party would set out its position on Thursday.

In a short statement on Wednesday evening, Michelle O’Neill said: “Sinn Fein over the past 13 months worked to restore the institutions on the basis of  respect, integrity and equality for all sections of society.

“When this latest round of talks was announced in January, I said a short, sharp and focussed negotiation was required to resolve the outstanding issues of rights and equality available everywhere else in the islands.

“Sinn Fein engaged, we worked in good faith, we stretched ourselves.

“We had reached an accommodation with the leadership of the DUP.

“The DUP failed to close the deal.”

The MLA continued: “They have now collapsed this process.

“These issues are not going away.

“Sinn Fein are now in contact with both governments and we will set out our considered position tomorrow.

“The DUP should reflect on their position.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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