POWER-SHARING talks at Stormont yesterday came close to a conclusion, however, the refusal to budge on the Irish Language Act by Sinn Fein meant that both Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Prime Minister Theresa May left Belfast without a deal.
Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou MacDonald made a statement yesterday evening that a standalone Irish Language Act is what the party have "set out to achieve", and would not be something they'd be prepared to budge on.
— Sinn Féin (@sinnfeinireland) February 12, 2018
Campaigners in the north wish to see the Irish language afforded similar status to the Republic, in keeping with long-standing European-wide protections for minority languages.
Now, after a year of saying no to an Irish Language Act, and a very loud and definitive no at that, speculation is mounting that the DUP could be preparing to say yes in order to bring Stormont talks to an end.
It was widely reported yesterday that a finalised deal was imminent, with both Varadkar and May changing plans in order to be present at talks in Belfast.
Good day in Belfast with Taoiseach. Meetings with political parties and British Prime Minister, discussed #Brexit, British/Irish relations and restoring NI Executive as soon as possible - @campaignforleo pic.twitter.com/3d79VKKr84
— Simon Coveney (@simoncoveney) February 12, 2018