Stormont deadlock: Sinn Féin to press Varadkar for action

Michelle O'Neill and Gerry AdamsImage copyright
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Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill and Gerry Adams will attend Dublin ’s Government Buildings for talks

Sinn Féin is due to meet the taoiseach (Irish prime minister) later to press for action after the failure of the latest round of Stormont talks.

A delegation including Sinn Féin leader, Gerry Adams, and the party’s Stormont leader, Michelle O’Neill will meet Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Dublin.

Mrs O’Neill has called for a UK-Irish intergovernmental conference to begin “mapping a way forward”.

Sinn Féin’s talks with the DUP broke up at the start of the month with no deal.

In the absence of devolution, the British government introduced a budget bill for Stormont in order to keep public services running.

Both Prime Minister Theresa May and Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire stressed the intervention did not amount to the return of direct rule from Westminster.

However, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has said it would support the appointment of direct-rule ministers if a deal is not reached “within weeks”.

‘Pave the way’

Speaking ahead of the Dublin meeting, Mrs O’Neill said: “Following the failure of the latest phase of talks, there is now a responsibility on the two governments to address the issues of rights which are at the heart of the crisis.

“They should ensure a meeting of the British-Irish intergovernmental conference takes place as soon as possible to begin mapping a way forward for the implementation of outstanding agreements and guaranteeing the rights of citizens.

“This would pave the way for the executive to be restored.”

Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney, who attended the Stormont discussions, will also meet the Sinn Féin delegation.

Northern Ireland’s two biggest parties, the DUP and Sinn Féin, have been at loggerheads for almost a year over a number of issues.

Their power-sharing coalition fell apart in January, following a row over a green energy scandal, which is now the subject of a public inquiry.

Despite several months of talks, the two parties have not yet been able to resolve their differences over issues including an Irish language act and same-sex marriage.

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