United Kingdom and Ireland in push to break Northern Ireland deadlock

Sinn Fein’s Northern Ireland leader Michelle O’Neill said she does not believe the negotiations had long to

British Prime Minister Theresa May and the Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar spent the day in Belfast talking to political leaders amidst mounting speculation that more than a year after it collapsed, the Northern Ireland executive may soon be back at Stormont.

"While some differences remain, I believe that it is possible to see the basis of an agreement here", May said after Monday's talks.

Varadkar said on Twitter that the two governments held "constructive talks on restoring power-sharing and Brexit".

She flew into Belfast in a bid to finally break the deadlock between the DUP and Sinn Fein - with the two parties still at a stalemate after more than a year since their power-sharing agreement broke down.

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Ms McDonald said there were no direct talks between her party and the DUP on Monday, adding: "Clearly we need to meet, clearly we need to resolve the outstanding issues".

Newly-appointed Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald will join her party's negotiating team at Stormont, however, it is understood that Tanaiste Simon Coveney will not travel north until later in the week.

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Meanwhile, Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, expressed a similar sentiment as he said he is "very hopeful" of a deal being done this week.

The same British Government that is pursuing a reckless and catastrophic Brexit on the people of Ireland against their wishes and best interests.

There is no prospect of Northern Ireland's main parties agreeing to restore devolved government, the leader of the largest unionist party said on Wednesday, calling on Britain to take further financial control of the region.

"We have always said, and this is where the British and Irish governments are very much agreed, that the best way to achieve that is in the context of a new relationship between the United Kingdom and EU".

A DUP source last night told The Irish News that progress had been made over the course of last week and that the basis of a deal was in place.

'However they want to describe it, the DUP know that agreement requires an Acht Gaeilge.

Such hopes proved unfounded, but all parties said an accord was in sight.

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