The Northern Ireland Secretary of State Owen Patterson is insisting the British Government has not had any meaningful or serious talks with dissident republicans.
Mr Patterson, who appeared before a powerful scrutiny committee at Westminister, was asked if he could clarify the situation after the north's Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, claimed the British Government was involved in discussions with dissidents.
Mr Patterson insisted that was not the case when questioned by the independant MP Lady Sylvia Hermon.
Mr Patterson said: "There have not been talks. We have not had any negotiations, any discussions with these people."