Call for Taoiseach, PM to intervene in Stormont talks

A new deadline has been set for Tuesday

Call for Taoiseach, PM to intervene in Stormont talks

The Parliament Buildings in Stormont, Belfast | Image:

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney is back in Belfast as a stalemate at Stormont continues.

The Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire has granted Sinn Féin and the DUP more time to reach agreement after "further progress" during negotiations to restore devolved government.

He had given the two largest parties until Monday to strike a deal or risk a return to direct rule from London.

But in a statement, he deferred his assessment until Tuesday.

He said: "The parties have made further progress during the course of today.

"They are making certain additional requests to the UK Government which we need to consider.

"In the light of this, I believe it is right to defer the assessment on whether to introduce legislation to Parliament this week to enable an Executive to be formed.

"The parties will recommence talks in the morning and I will reassess the position on Tuesday night."

Minister Coveney said: "Everyone working hard to get a deal across the line".

While Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin has called on the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and British Prime Minister Theresa May to personally intervene.

He said: "It is has been clear for some time now that the DUP and Sinn Fein will not by themselves do a deal in Northern Ireland to restore the institutions.

"With Brexit looming, the restoration of the executive is an imperative to protect the real interests of Northern Ireland. With the DUP now calling for the British Government to set a Budget for the North, it is clear that the talks have stalled.

"Over recent weeks we have seen the Taoiseach engage in jostling and shape throwing with Sinn Fin in the Dáil.

"The Taoiseach has suggested that we will not tolerate a return to British direct rule, whatever he means by that, but that is where we are heading unless he intervenes.

"Before time runs out, the British Prime Minister and Taoiseach must, as guardians of the Good Friday Agreement, roll up their sleeves and get themselves involved in the interests of the people of Northern Ireland."