How new is the Foster offer?

There has been some debate doing the rounds about how new the proposal from the DUP Leader was last night about a parallel process. 

Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill argued this morning that such an offer is not new from the DUP and had been proposed before.

On the core of the proposal, she is actually right as the lead negotiator for the party Edwin Poots proposed in June the following

Speaking to the BBC on Tuesday evening, Edwin Poots, the DUP’s senior negotiator, said that, if Thursday’s deadline isn’t met, “we could have a parallel process”.

He went on to suggest: “We can get Stormont back up and running on Thursday again and continue to engage in these matters”.

This approach was echoed by his colleague Simon Hamilton just a few weeks ago

What appears to be new in Foster’s remarks is the setting of a deadline and the Executive ceasing to exist if no agreement is found. However, the core of the proposal has been doing the rounds in DUP circles from late June 2017.

This is all a bit academic now since it has been rejected outright by both the SDLP and Sinn Fein.

 

David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs