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Parties in Northern Ireland have approved a Budget for next year. Kinda.

There had been deadlock on the issue for several weeks.

PARTIES IN NORTHERN Ireland have finally voted through a draft Budget for next year, after weeks of deadlock over the significant cuts being implemented.

However, although the Budget has been agreed, it was only approved by Sinn Féin and the DUP, while the Alliance Party and UUP abstained.

The SDLP voted against the Budget.

If agreement had not been reached by next week, the government would have been unable to claim a £100 million loan from the UK Treasury.

Meanwhile, Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan has come out of the first round of talks on Northern Ireland’s legacy issues with a positive mind.

He said that all parties will enter the next week of discussions with “renewed energy and positive commitment”.

What these will focus on have yet been to identified, but ‘the four work streams’ of the talks have all been touched on.

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“I will be returning to Belfast next week, when it is proposed that there will be a collective review of the process so far, and to set out next steps in these Talks,” Flanagan said.

Earlier today, Flanagan and Junior Minister Seán Sherlock met with Senator Gary Hart.

“I am confident that along with the British and Irish Governments, he will play a very constructive role in helping to resolve the current political impasse and build an enduring peace and a reconciled society,” Flanagan commented.

Hart’s involvement in the talks began in earnest yesterday, when he met with the leaders of the five parties in Stormont.

The US politician is looking to break the deadlock on issues such as flags and parades, after proposals by his counterpart Richard Haass were not accepted by unionist parties st year.

Read: New talks on flags, parading and the past to start in the North today >

More: This guy is warning all sides in the North to refrain from ‘dangerous mutual provocation’ >

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Nicky Ryan

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