Northern politicians were tonight given the green light for a fresh assembly election on March 7.
After talks in Downing Street, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and British prime minister Tony Blair confirmed that they were sticking with their plan for a fresh Stormont election.
However, they warned that, if it became clear that there would be no power-sharing government, they would pull the plug on plans for an election.
“The assembly election, due to be held on March 7, is an integral part of the process and timetable agreed at St Andrew’s,” the Prime Minister said.
“It is being held for the explicit purposes of endorsing the St Andrew’s Agreement and of electing the assembly that will form a power-sharing executive on March 26 in accordance with that agreement and time frame.”