TUV leader Jim Allister has urged the Irish government to “mind its own business” when it comes to the political stability of Northern Ireland.
The comment follows a statement from Taoiseach Enda Kenny indicating he had agreed with Prime Minister Theresa May there will be no return to direct rule should the current talks at Stormont end in failure.
However, the UK government has stressed that maintaining political stability in Northern Ireland is a UK responsibility.
According to BBC News NI, a government spokesperson said: “We are not speculating on any other outcome.
“We remain firmly focused on securing the resumption of devolved government and the formation of an Executive within the statutory timeframe of 27 March.”
Following Mr Kenny’s remarks, North Antrim MLA Mr Allister said: “The government of the Republic should mind its own business. As Her Majesty’s Government rightly observed at the weekend the stability of Northern Ireland is a UK responsibility.”
However, Mr Allister said he believed a return to direct rule would be “the least worst option in the current circumstances”.
He added: “Sinn Fein have shown that they are willing and able to bring devolution down as and when they please. Sustaining such a system is not in the interests of the stability of NI.”
Meanwhile, DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson told the BBC’s Sunday News he was not aware of any agreement between Mrs May and Mr Kenny regarding no return to direct rule.
He said: “We had no indication from the government at Westminster that they have agreed that line with Dublin so I think Enda was pushing the boat out a little on that one.”