In Brief

Why did the Stormont power-sharing talks fail?

With the DUP and Sinn Fein blaming each other, a deal seems a long way off

Northern Ireland's politicians have missed multiple deadlines to restore power-sharing at Stormont since March, with each party blaming the other - and the Tory minority government - for the most recent failure to meet an agreement.

While DUP leader Arlene Foster says talks will continue over the summer, negotiators remain far apart on several issues, including Sinn Fein's demands for an Irish language act.

What's behind the rift?

Michelle O'Neill, Sinn Fein's leader at Stormont, claims the Conservatives' deal with the DUP is one of the main reasons efforts to establish a new administration have floundered, the Belfast Telegraph reports.

"What this constitutes is a monumental failure on behalf of Theresa May," she said on Tuesday. "She has set back decades of work that has been done here throughout the years and it's a consequence, as we all know, of the DUP supporting the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister in turn supporting the DUP." 

Calls for an Irish language act

The DUP, meanwhile, blames the stalemate on Sinn Fein's demands for an Irish language act to put Irish on an equal par with English in the province.

Fearing criticism from hardline unionists, the party has argued for an all-embracing culture act that would also guarantee the rights of Ulster Scots speakers and incorporate the protection of Orange/Protestant culture into legislation, The Guardian reports.

What now?

The government has repeatedly warned that if no power-sharing deal is in place soon, it may call for new elections or step in to govern the region through direct rule. 

Both the UK and Irish governments have warned that failing to secure an agreement would have "profound and serious implications" and limit Northern Ireland's influence in Brexit talks, Reuters says.

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