New talks to restore NI Executive set for Stormont next week

James Brokenshire
James Brokenshire

Northern Ireland’s political parties have been asked to participate in another round of talks in a bid to resolve the political crisis.

Secretary of State James Brokenshire has invited the parties to take part in the talks process at Stormont Castle on Monday.

The UK and Irish governments have said they want the talks to have an agreed agenda and regular round-table meetings. A deadline to form a powersharing executive was missed on Monday.

However Mr Brokenshire has said he believed there was still a window of opportunity for parties to reach an agreement.

“The talks will have two objectives. First, to secure a coalition agreement to form the basis of the formation of a new Executive. Second, to address the implementation of outstanding issues from previous Agreements,” Mr Brokenshire said.

He added: “In a shared approach, the UK government and Irish government have agreed this phase of talks will be best supported by an intensive process to drive progress.”

He recently told MPs he does not believe there is an appetite for a fresh snap election.

Irish Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan said that as a co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, the Irish Government “is determined to uphold its principles and protect its institutions”.

On Sunday talks to restore the institutions broke down after Sinn Fein said it would not nominate a deputy first minister. Michelle O’Neill said at the time that talks with the DUP had come to the “end of the road”.

Responding to the invitation to attend the negotiations, Sinn Fein’s John O’Dowd said the talks must be about the implementation of previous agreements.