Stormont can be restored within hours, claims SDLP leader and Foyle MP Colum Eastwood

Colum Eastwood.
Colum Eastwood.

A deal to restore Stormont can happen within hours the Foyle MP and SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has declared.

Mr. Eastwood said the political will exists to secure a deal to restore power sharing government.

“It has always been the case over the last three years that a deal to restore power sharing government in Northern Ireland could be done within a matter of hours. The political will now exists to secure a deal, it’s important that parties work intensively to get this over the line," he said.

The SDLP leader said the reform of the controversial 'petition of concern' that was used to block same-sex marriage legislation in the past was a stumbling block that could be overcome.

“The SDLP has worked hard with other parties to deliver proposals which we believe will unlock the impasse by reforming the Petition of Concern to make it a human rights compliant instrument. We are prepared to stretch ourselves to reach a consensus that delivers inclusive power sharing institutions," said Mr. Eastwood.

And with industrial action by health staff to continue next week he said time was of the essence.

“Next week healthcare workers will again take strike action in defence of patient safety and to secure a fair deal for hard pressed frontline staff. Their needs should be at the front of all our minds in the time ahead.

"It’s time we had a government that delivers for healthcare staff, for schools under immense financial strain and for families facing a welfare cliffedge. This is a time to deliver. It’s time for politicians to get back to work.”