Latest: Flanagan urges Stormont parties to reach agreement before tomorrow's deadline

Latest: Flanagan urges Stormont parties to reach agreement before tomorrow's deadline

Latest: Speaking from Stormont Castle after the breakdown of talks aimed at reestablishing the Northern executive, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan said: "Despite constructive engagement by all of the parties and important progress being made during these discussions, it has not yet been possible to make the necessary breakthroughs on a small number of core issues.

"...It is the strong wish of the Irish Government to see power-sharing re-established so that the interests of the people in Northern Ireland are best protected and advanced. I therefore urge the parties to avail of the remaining time available to re-engage on the few outstanding issues that divide them."

The DUP leader Arlene Foster issued a statement saying Sinn Féin behaved as if they were the only participants whose mandate mattered and "this cannot and will not be the basis for a successful outcome".

Earlier:

Talks aimed at restoring the North's power-sharing executive have broken down.

Earlier, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said there had been no real progress in the talks, and now Sinn Féin's leader in the assembly Michelle O'Neill (pictured) suggested they had run their course.

The party announced that it would not be nominating anyone for the positions of assembly speaker or deputy first minister tomorrow.

Speaking in Belfast today, Michelle O’Neill said: "This talks process has run its course. Sinn Féin will not be supporting nominations for Speaker or the Executive tomorrow.

"When the extent of the (green energy scandal known as 'ash for cash') became apparent and the First Minister (Arlene Foster) refused to step aside, Martin McGuinness acted and made clear there could be no return to the status quo.

"The decision by Martin McGuinness to resign was endorsed in the election.

"The election result has transformed the political landscape. The approach of the unionist parties and the governments must reflect this change.

“We entered talks to implement what had already been agreed, to rebuild public confidence in an Executive and Assembly, operating on the basis of equality and respect and rights for all in society. This was an entirely reasonable approach.

“Sinn Féin in the talks sought the full implementation of the outstanding issues of equality and rights. The governments and the DUP have failed to step up to the plate.

“The British Government has refused to honour its responsibilities. Their objective has not been truth and healing but continued cover-up of their actions in Ireland.

“They have also set aside the democratic wishes of the people and are intent on imposing Brexit and continued austerity.

“Sinn Féin is still intent on honouring our mandate and agreements made. We want to see the institutions restored but when we said there will be no return to the status quo we meant it.”

The parties have until 4pm tomorrow to nominate first and deputy first ministers. If they do not, another snap election looks likely.

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