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positive talks

UK Northern Ireland secretary 'confident' about Stormont restoration following DUP meeting

The Northern Assembly has been shuttered for nearly three years and all previous attempts to restore it have collapsed.

THE UK’S NORTHERN Ireland Secretary has said that he is “confident” about the prospect of a deal to restore the Northern Executive and Assembly following a meeting with the DUP.

Julian Smith met members of Northern Ireland’s largest party in Westminster this morning to discuss the prospect of restoring Stormont powersharing.

ulster-powersharing A roundtable meeting at Stormont on Wednesday. Liam McBurney Liam McBurney

“I have had a positive meeting with members of [the] DUP this morning at Westminster. I am confident that we can move things forward,” Smith tweeted following the meeting.

It comes just a day after the Northern Ireland Secretary said that the DUP had prevented a pre-Christmas deal to restore the assembly.

“I am deeply disappointed that we have not got all five parties in agreement,” he said.

The comments were echoed by foreign affairs minister, Simon Coveney, who said that the British and Irish governments were on the “exact same page” regarding the issue.

The Stormont Assembly collapsed nearly three years ago after deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness pulled support from the DUP over its leader Arlene Foster’s role in the cash-for-ash scandal.

Since then, all talks to restore the executive have collapsed, reportedly over who is responsible for the cash-for-ash scandal and a stalemate over the implementation of an Irish Language Act. 

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