Theresa May calls for a' final push' as Northern Ireland talks fail to reach deal
Theresa May has urged Northern Ireland leaders to make a 'final push' after they failed to reach a deal in powersharing talks.
Northern Ireland has been without a proper devolved government for 13 months, and despite hopes a deal would emerge from Mrs May's visit to Belfast today, none could be reached.
After a series of high-level talks in Belfast, the Prime Minister said that "while differences remain, I think there is the basis of an agreement here" and hoped that an executive could be "up and running very soon".
She said: "It's been 13 long months since we last saw devolved government here and I think we are now at the point where it's time for the local elected representatives to find a way to work together and to deal with, to tackle, the many pressing issues facing Northern Ireland."
Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar has said he is "very hopeful" of a powersharing agreement being reached this week.
After a series of talks involving the leaders of Sinn Fein and the DUP , the Irish leader said there was a "lot of work to do" but progress was going in the "right direction".
Mr Varadkar said: "We are very hopeful that those two parties are able to come to an agreement this week."
Earlier, DUP leader Arlene Foster said: "The tone was very good. We continue to have those conversations and we will continue to have conversations with Sinn Fein around the outstanding matters and indeed with our own government as well."
The party leader added: "If the public are frustrated at the pace of progress, we all are as well."
Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald said: "We believe that we are close to an agreement which, certainly, we can put to our grassroots and to the community as a whole."
She acknowledged "we are not exactly there just yet" but "there is nothing insurmountable if there is the political will to reach an agreement".
There were no direct talks between Sinn Fein and the DUP, she said.
"Today we met with both governments, we did not have the opportunity to meet with the DUP," she said.
"Clearly we need to meet, clearly we need to resolve the outstanding issues."Source: Google News