Latest: Sinn Féin to meet with Varadkar and Theresa May following Stormont talks collapse

Update 7pm: Sinn Féin is to hold meetings with the Taoiseach and British Prime Minister in the wake of the collapse of Stormont talks.

Sinn Féin are calling on the British and Irish Governments to implement agreements on Legacy, an Irish Language Act and provide for marriage equality in the north.

The party's Ard Comhairle has been meeting in Dublin to discuss a way forward.

Meanwhile, the Northern Secretary believes getting the Stormont Executive back up and running is what is best for the North.

Karen Bradley insists she will do all she can to restore devolved government.

"We've worked extraordinarily hard to do our very best to enable an executive to be form and I still believe that that can be done with the will of the politicians to deliver on what the people of Northern Ireland want and need which is their elected politicians doing the right thing and delivering devolved government for the people of Northern Ireland," said Ms Bradley.

Mary Lou McDonald.

Earlier: Sinn Féin in last-ditch bid to revive powersharing

Sinn Féin has made a last ditch appeal for their powersharing partners to get back into government in Northern Ireland.

Mary Lou McDonald urged the Democractic Unionists (DUP) to reconsider its position on proposals to end the 13 month political stalemate at Stormont.

Speaking ahead of a meeting in Dublin, Ms McDonald said: "Our appeal to the DUP is fairly straightforward. We had a draft agreement. We have a draft agreement. I would appeal to the DUP at this juncture to reconsider their position. Come back and talk to us and get that over the line.

"But I would also say to the DUP if that's not a runner, and I suspect at this moment it is not, we are not standing still.

"The show must go on and we have to move forward."

Negotiations between the region's two biggest parties were reportedly at a critical stage when DUP leader Arlene Foster effectively pulled the plug on Wednesday.

The DUP leader called on the UK government to set a budget and start making policy decisions for Northern Ireland.

However, Sinn Féin has insisted direct rule from Westminster is not an option.

"Direct rule would be entirely unacceptable to us, unacceptable to nationalist opinion across the country, particularly in the north and if anybody thinks or thought that by crashing this process they would return to the bosom of direct rule. They got it wrong," Ms McDonald said.

Vexatious issues such Irish language rights, marriage equality and how to deal with the legacy of Northern Ireland's troubled must now be tackled by both British and Irish governments, she added.

The republican party leadership is expected to meet with the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and British Prime Minister Theresa May to discuss the way forward in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin's Stormont leader Michelle O'Neill was also in Dublin for the meeting.

She said: "In any negotiation there has to be give and take. There were a number of issues which vexed the DUP and there were a number of issues which vexed ourselves.

"We had on the table a draft agreement, an accommodation whatever, way you want to describe it, we are crystal clear, what we had was a way forward and the DUP leadership failed to back that way forward."

- PA


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