Talks in North enter 'critical stage'

Talks in North enter 'critical stage'

Talks in the North are said to be entering 'a critical stage', with just two weeks left to agree a deal.

The parties are back at Stormont today as they seek to restore the north's power-sharing executive.

They must reach a deal by March 27, or risk a return to direct rule from London.

The Northern Secretary James Brokenshire has cancelled his St Patrick's Day visit to Washington, so he can concentrate on the talks.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan says he is also staying close to home.

"I was originally planning on going to the United States for St Patrick's Day, as I did last year and the year before, not on the occasion.

"I agree with the Secretary of State that the next couple of weeks are crucial to the setting up of a fully functional executive and Assembly here," he said.

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