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Talks process must be meaningful – Robin Swann

Ulster Unionist Party Leader Robin Swann MLA has welcomed that a new talks process will be initiated, but has said that it must be meaningful.

Robin Swann MLA said:

“I wrote to the Prime Minister in the aftermath of the murder of Lyra McKee calling on her to initiate a talks progress, so this announcement is welcome. The Ulster Unionist Party is ready and willing to talk.  There may be an opportunity for progress, but that will only happen if there is genuine engagement from the two largest parties.  The UK Government cannot continue to appease the politics of intransigence. They cannot continue to allow Sinn Fein to set the terms for talks.

“People want progress and to see politics in Northern Ireland offer a positive way forward, but have been repeatedly let down by the dysfunctionality, scandals and disrespect of the last Stormont Executive.

“I hope that these talks are undertaken in a more responsible way than the initial announcement which was leaked to a broadcaster in the Republic of Ireland rather than inform the parties that are participating. Trust needs to be built and that wasn`t a good way to start.

“We must stick to the three stranded approach of the Belfast Agreement. That has worked in the past and it can work in the future.

“This talks process needs to be meaningful and has to deal with the issues of accountable and transparent government and the petition of concern.  Failure to resolve these issues will not provide strong foundations for the future of devolution.”

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