Saturday 20 January 2018

Simon Coveney and James Brokenshire to encourage renewed powersharing talks

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney welcomes Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire to a meeting at The Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin for talks on the Brexit issue. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney welcomes Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire to a meeting at The Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin for talks on the Brexit issue. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney welcomes Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire to a meeting at The Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin for talks on the Brexit issue. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Deborah McAleese

The Irish and British governments are due to meet Stormont's political parties next week in another attempt to restore the Northern Ireland Executive.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney and Northern Ireland Secretary of State James Brokenshire have said they will be travelling to Belfast to encourage political leaders to restart the stalled talks process.

Mr Brokenshire refused to give a date for the resumption of talks aimed at restoring devolution.

He said he would "come forward with further information in my own way in respect of the next step around the talks process".

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney welcomes Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire to a meeting at The Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin for talks on the Brexit issue. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney welcomes Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire to a meeting at The Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin for talks on the Brexit issue. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

He admitted that "differences firmly do remain" between political parties but added that he was going forward with "positive intent".

Mr Brokenshire was in Dublin to discuss the situation at Stormont and Brexit with Minister Coveney.

Minister Coveney said he intends to visit Belfast next week to meet with politicians.

"Northern Ireland needs a voice through a government of its own.

"We need to see a resumption to those discussions and hopefully a conclusion as soon as possible.

"We don't want talks that are ongoing for a long period of time."

Sinn Fein's leader in Northern Ireland has written to the UK and Irish governments proposing a formal resumption of power-sharing talks.

Michelle O'Neill suggested parties should be given a tight deadline from next Monday to restore the government.

The Democratic Unionist Party's (DUP) Simon Hamilton described her proposal as a "stunt", saying his party had been ready to form an executive for months.

Northern Ireland has been without a functioning devolved government since January.

The coalition led by the two biggest parties, the DUP and Sinn Fein collapsed over a botched green energy scheme.

Formal talks were suspended without agreement in July.

Press Association

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