Northern Ireland

Stormont deadlock: Dylan Quinn's 90-mile protest from Enniskillen to Belfast

Dylan Quinn has been joined by supporters along the route
Image caption Dylan Quinn has been joined by supporters for parts of the 90-mile route

A County Fermanagh man is protesting against the lack of devolved government in Northern Ireland by walking 90 miles (145km) from Enniskillen to Stormont.

Dylan Quinn's long trek began just days before the second anniversary of the collapse of devolution at Stormont.

He said the two-year stalemate was "not acceptable" and he is trying to keep it at the forefront of public debate.

Mr Quinn set out from Enniskillen at 09:00 GMT and hopes to arrive at Stormont on Monday afternoon.

Northern Ireland's power-sharing coalition, led by the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Féin, fell apart on 9 January 2017 when the late Martin McGuinness resigned at the height of a green energy scandal.

'Not normal'

BBC News NI caught up with Mr Quinn on Saturday, as he made his way along the roads of County Fermanagh.

"We are currently approaching our two-year landmark where we do not have a government in Northern Ireland," he said.

"It has become our normality here, but it's not normal and I think we have to keep undertaking actions in order to make sure that people are aware of that, that it's not acceptable from our political representatives."

Image caption Dylan Quinn was on the move when he spoke to BBC News NI

The 44-year-old father of four from Monea, just outside Enniskillen, has been campaigning on social media since last summer in a bid to end the deadlock at Stormont.

He organised a number of rallies in August, when Northern Ireland surpassed Belgium for the ignominy of the longest period without a government in peacetime.

'Illegal parade'

Several rounds of talks between Stormont's political parties have failed to revive power sharing, and civil servants have been running public services for the past two years.

Mr Quinn said he was hoping to inspire Stormont's MLAs to "move forward into 2019" and like him, face up to their challenges.

His own challenges to date include a sore right leg and a complaint to the police that his protest walk amounted to an illegal parade, because he had not notified the Parades Commission.

"I made the assumption that, because I was the only one taking the full journey, that this was not a parade, this was just walking from Enniskillen to Stormont," he explained.

However, he subsequently submitted an application to the commission after taking advice from the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

'Pain'

Mr Quinn said the illegal parade complaint was a "really sad reflection on politics in Northern Ireland" and believes the complainant may have "felt threatened by what we were doing".

"I can't think how anybody would think that this walk is any more of a threat than the lack of political representation here, that's what we should really be focussing on."

Mr Quinn admitted that he is not yet sure what he will do when he gets to Stormont, but said that was not the point of his protest.

"It's really about the journey...it's about meeting the people on the way there, the different areas that I'm travelling through," he said.

"It's not just about what happens at Stormont but it's about what happens around Northern Ireland through the communities that I'm going through."

More on this story