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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 August 2006, 08:35 GMT 09:35 UK
Parties 'have no common purpose'
Stormont
Sinn Fein has said NI's parties have no common purpose
Summer meetings of the NI Assembly's Preparation for Government Committee have not built a common purpose amongst the parties, Sinn Fein has said.

Sinn Fein's John O'Dowd said they would not decide whether to participate in assembly proceedings this autumn until an internal party review in September.

Interviewed for the BBC's Inside Politics programme, Mr O'Dowd said the DUP had yet to engage with his party.

He said at this stage, none of the parties were prepared for government.

"In the sense of identifying areas of common purpose, the DUP still have not directly engaged with Sinn Fein - in fact, they won't even look directly at us across the table," the Upper Bann assembly member said.

"We are three months or thereabouts from the government deadline, where if the DUP don't agree to share power with Sinn Fein, the institutions are coming down.

"So are we preparing for government? At this stage, I would say no, we're not."

On 15 May, Northern Ireland's politicians took their seats in the Stormont assembly for the first time since October 2002.

While there is no immediate prospect of a power-sharing executive being formed, the government hopes recalling the politicians will help to pave the way towards a deal in the autumn, by its deadline of 24 November.

Devolved government was suspended over allegations of a republican spy ring.

The court case that followed collapsed and one of those involved, Denis Donaldson, later admitted working as a British agent.

Direct rule from London was restored in October 2002 and has been in place since.




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