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looming deadline

Gerry Adams doesn't think power-sharing deal will be reached by Monday

Theresa May has called both Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill to outline her government’s desire to see a deal in the North.

Updated 5.55pm 

GERRY ADAMS HAS said he doesn’t expect a deal to restore power-sharing in Northern Ireland will be reached by Monday.

Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) missed the previous deadline of 4pm on Thursday.

Speaking to Sky News, Adams said: “I don’t believe that there is going to be a deal by Monday.

“The DUP are showing no urgency or no real inclination to deal with the rights-based issues which are at the crux and the heart of these difficulties which we are talking here about.”

The power-sharing assembly has been vacant since January after a bitter row between Sinn Féin and the DUP over the “cash-for-ash” scandal.

Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire is expected to make a statement on Monday about what will happen if a deal is not reached by then. A further deadline extension may be granted or power could be transferred back to Westminster. Alternatively, another election may be called.

Theresa May

British Prime Minister Theresa May made phone calls to both the DUP and Sinn Féin leaders last night.

May called Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill to outline her government’s desire to see a deal in the North.

A spokesperson for Downing Street said yesterday:

““The Prime Minister spoke on the phone to the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party Arlene Foster this evening about the UK Government’s priority to restore devolved Government to Northern Ireland as soon as possible and our commitment to doing everything we can to work with the parties to reach a successful conclusion.

“On the ongoing talks, the Prime Minister said it was encouraging to see discussions continuing and it was important that momentum is maintained so an Executive can be restored and they both agreed that this was in the interest of everyone in Northern Ireland.”

The spokesperson said that May had also spoken to O’Neill.

“They both agreed on the need for the Executive to be restored for the benefit of everyone in Northern Ireland. The Prime Minister recognised that constructive discussions had taken place between the parties and urged them both to come together reach a collective agreement so that devolved Government could be restored in Northern Ireland.”

Sinn Fein negotiator John O’Dowd said the main sticking points concerned his party’s demands for official recognition of the Irish language, a bill of rights and same sex-marriage. Thousands of people marched in Belfast today calling for same-sex marriage to be legalised in Northern Ireland.

But the DUP hit back, with negotiator Edwin Poots telling Sinn Fein to “get moving so we can get government back in place”.

With reporting by Órla Ryan

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