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Wednesday 6 December 2023 Dublin: 7°C
Niall Carson/PA
Northern Ireland

Deadline missed: No deal reached in Stormont talks

The power-sharing assembly has been vacant since January.

Updated at 4.15pm

A DEADLINE TO restore power-sharing in Northern Ireland has been missed.

Parties had until 4pm to strike a deal.

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.

Discussions had continued until 2am and resumed earlier today.

Downing Street has confirmed that talks will be extended until Monday, when Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire will make a statement about what will happen next.

The British government had set a deadline of 4pm for the formation of an executive before it transfers power back to Westminster or orders another election.

Brokenshire earlier said that “much progress” had been made. However, he said there were a number of issues outstanding, and he urged parties to continue efforts to achieve a resolution.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney earlier issued a statement agreeing that “significant” progress had been made, but adding that “there are still gaps to be bridged on a number of key issues”.

Coveney said: ”All parties are committed to the successful operation of all of the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement and everyone is convinced that devolution is the best way to deliver for all of the people of Northern Ireland.

With courage and goodwill this can be achieved and everyone here will now continue to focus on delivering that positive outcome.

In the time the executive has been vacant, the DUP and Sinn Féin took the most seats in assembly elections and the DUP entered a supply and confidence agreement with the Conservatives to prop up the Westminster parliament.

Not running smoothly 

Leaders in London and Dublin have voiced their support for a deal in the North in recent weeks.

However, the DUP’s Edwin Poots yesterday indicated talks were not running smoothly.

“I can’t say they are easy but nonetheless we want to get Stormont up and running,” he said.

“I would encourage Sinn Féin to be mature. No high-wire acts: let’s get down to work, knuckle down and find a way through this.”

Sinn Féin, meanwhile, accused the DUP last night of refusing to budge on any of their demands.

With reporting by Órla Ryan

Read: DUP and Sinn Féin have just 24 hours to reach a deal – so what happens if they don’t?

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