“The first and deputy first ministers held a private meeting with the prime minister in London..”

Back to political reality, because some recent posts have been less than relevant.  No names, no pack drill.  ANYhoo…

As the BBC reports, following the Northern Ireland Secretary of State’s declaration that, “I think it is possible that we could have a deal next week“, the Northern Ireland First and deputy First Ministers, the DUP’s Peter Robinson and Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, met with the Prime Minister in Downing Street today on Friday 6 November.

The BBC reports that

There is no confirmation on the content of the talks, but it is understood they are likely to have covered financial matters related to the talks process.

At which point it’s relevant to bring in an Irish Times report from Thursday 5 November.

Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist Party are requesting more than €550 million from the [Irish] Government for infrastructural projects in Northern Ireland as part of negotiations to break the political impasse in Stormont.

It is understood an informal paper outlining spending requests has been distributed as part of the talks but has not been formally tabled.

The talks are expected to conclude next week.

According to the Irish Times report

An overall package from Dublin and London would be £800 million, or €1.13 billion.

We’ll check against previously claimed funding.

And, in the same report, a ray of sanity…

[Irish] Government sources described the Narrow Water Bridge as a “vanity project” and said supports for the “real economy”, such as entrepreneurial projects, could gain more traction.

One Minister said there is no real surprise at the request for funding from the Northern parties.

“It’s true to form,” said one. “There’s not that much enthusiasm to send money up North that could be spent on infrastructure here.”

Another Coalition source described it as “a shopping list that they want the UK and Irish governments to pay for”.

The other key point to note in any eventual announcement of an agreement, given the exclusive discussions in Downing Street, is which parties have endorsed it…

“What I fear is there will be a sticking plaster solution carved out between Sinn Féin and the DUP. When we get to that point we’ll make a decision,” [UUP Leader Mike Nesbitt] said.

Whether any resulting agreement between the DUP and Sinn Féin will leave either [or both] open to accusations of a sell-out remains to be seen… 

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