Latest: Powersharing deal still not reached between the DUP and Sinn Féin

Update 10.12pm:Talks between the DUP and Sinn Féin at Stormont have ended for the night.

The North's Secretary of State set a new deadline of tomorrow night for the parties to reach a powersharing deal.

James Brokenshire said he was considering requests leaders had made to the UK Government before bringing in Westminster lesiglation for a Northern Ireland Budget.

It's understood the talks will resume tomorrow.

Update 3.11pm: Sinn Fein has said it is not prepared to accept a deal to save Stormont at "any price".

The party has resumed talks with the DUP in a bid to restore the powersharing government.

Sinn Fein negotiator Conor Murphy MLA has insisted that they stand firm over the issue of rights for all citizens, including language, legacy and gay marriage.

Sinn Fein's Conor Murphy (centre) speaking to the media at Stormont Parliament buildings, Belfast.

Referring to the SDLP he challenged critics of the party to say if they want a deal "at any price".

Mr Murphy added that this is a "very key time" in the talks process with the DUP.

"The people who are criticising us for standing firm in these negotiations need to explain what they mean by 'get a deal at any price'," said Mr Murphy.

"For our part in Sinn Fein we are here engaged, not on party political interests but actually on issues that are rights for people who support us and for many, many people who don't support us.

"We are here to protect people's rights and ensure that any legislation which is put back in place is done so on the basis of the Good Friday Agreement."

Mr Murphy also said that if Northern Ireland Secretary of State James Brokenshire decides to legislate for a budget for the region at Westminster, "this phase of the talks process is over".

He also admitted there is a "credibility issue" the longer the talks drag on.

Ireland's Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney and Northern Ireland Secretary of State James Brokenshire arrived back at Stormont on Tuesday in a bid to help break the political deadlock.

They said progress was made on Monday between the DUP and Sinn Fein during talks aimed at restoring powersharing.

Both men and the parties arrived back at Stormont on Tuesday morning to resume discussions after a late night of negotiations.

Mr Coveney tweeted that "everyone (is) working hard to get a deal across the line".

Mr Brokenshire has extended the deadline for the parties to reach agreement and will review the situation on Tuesday night.

They were warned by the Secretary of State they had until Monday to produce a written agreement or he would be forced to legislate for a budget for the region at Westminster.

However he decided on Monday night that the parties had made progress and he was going to defer his decision.

In a statement he said: "The parties have made further progress during the course of (Monday).

"They are making certain additional requests of the UK Government which we need to consider.

"In the light of this, I believe it is right to defer the assessment on whether to introduce legislation to Parliament this week to enable an Executive to be formed.

"The parties will recommence talks in the morning (Tuesday) and I will reassess the position (on Tuesday) night."

The Northern Ireland Executive collapsed in January and the region has been without a powersharing government since then.

Despite endless rounds of discussions, a deal to restore devolution has proved elusive, with the introduction of an Irish language act seen as the main issue.

Earlier: Sinn Féin and the DUP are due to resume crisis talks at Stormont today after they were granted extra time by Northern Ireland Secretary of State James Brokenshire to try to restore the powersharing government.

The parties failed to reach a deal on Monday night to break the political deadlock, missing another deadline set by Mr Brokenshire.

They had been warned by the Northern Ireland Secretary that they had until Monday to produce a written agreement or he would be forced to legislate for a budget for the region at Westminster.

James Brokenshire

Although no agreement was reached on Monday night Mr Brokenshire said that the parties had made progress and he was therefore going to defer his decision to legislate for a budget.

In a statement he said: "The parties have made further progress during the course of today. They are making certain additional requests of the UK Government which we need to consider.

"In the light of this, I believe it is right to defer the assessment on whether to introduce legislation to Parliament this week to enable an Executive to be formed.

"The parties will recommence talks in the morning (Tuesday) and I will reassess the position (on Tuesday) night."

Sinn Féin negotiator Gerry Kelly seen in the party's offices at Stormont as the North's two main parties remain locked in talks with the latest deadline to restore powersharing due to expire within a matter of hours. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The Northern Ireland Executive collapsed in January and the region has been without a powersharing government since then.

Despite endless rounds of discussions, a deal to restore devolution has proved elusive, with the introduction of an Irish language act seen as the main issue.

Mr Brokenshire and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney were in Belfast on Monday to try and help find a breakthrough to the political deadlock.

Sinn Féin's Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald also joined their party's negotiating team at Stormont.

The parties remained at Stormont until 9pm attempting to find a way forward.

Throughout the day the DUP, Sinn Féin and the Irish and UK Governments stayed tight-lipped about any progress in the negotiations.

The region's smaller parties held a meeting earlier in the day to discuss the lack of openness and transparency in the talks.


KEYWORDS: Sinn Féin, DUP

 

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