Northern Ireland

Stormont House Agreement: Martin McGuinness hits back at Mike Nesbitt comments

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Media captionMr McGuinness described comments being made about the process unravelling as "silly"

Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness has hit back at remarks from Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt that the Stormont House Agreement will unravel if "people use the process to renegotiate".

Mr Nesbitt made the comments after emerging from a meeting of Stormont party leaders on implementing the deal.

The five main parties reached broad agreement on 23 December on a number of key issues.

Mr McGuinness said comments about the process unravelling were "silly".

He said he had not seen an attempt by any of the political parties to renegotiate.

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Media captionMike Nesbitt said the agreement will "unravel" if people use the process to renegotiate

Mr Nesbitt said "certain parties have tried to bring forward proposals that they put on the table in November and December, which were not accepted and they are not going to be accepted in 2015".

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers said on Friday that it was crucial that the Stormont House Agreement was not derailed, but that she believed "the process of implementation is going well".

Peter Robinson has said he doesn't see the Stormont House Agreement "unravelling", as Mike Nesbitt has claimed.

The DUP leader said: "I think everybody's entitled to indicate if there are dangers of various things happening. All I can say is that I don't see them happening and I hope the parties faithfully implement the agreement."

SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell said they had "scanned the whole spectrum of the discussions before Christmas and the Stormont House Agreement" and had expressed their support, but with reservations.

"The stocktaking was useful and there is a process in place now for ongoing monitoring," he said.

The agreement was reached last month following 12 weeks of discussion between the British and Irish governments.

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