Stormont power-sharing talks collapse over Irish language act

Theresa May and Irish leader Leo Varadkar

Theresa May and Irish leader Leo Varadkar

Of those outside the talks process, Green Party leader Steven Agnew also spoke of his frustration.

He said: "We need to know, and what Northern Ireland needs to know, is the door to devolution now firmly closed or is there still a possibility of it being open?"

Elsewhere today a group of LGBT teenagers delivered a petition calling for marriage equality in Northern Ireland to politicians in the region.

The DUP agreed to prop up Theresa May's United Kingdom government after the Conservative party failed to win a majority in last year's general election.

"They have failed the people at home he said", he said.

The Prime Minister and both parties said just hours ago that good progress had been made and they were hopeful of a deal.

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

Despite Foster's comments today, yesterday, Theresa May said there was a "basis for an agreement" in Stormont and that a Northern Ireland Executive could be "up and running very soon". It raised hopes that after more than a year, there were hopes of a breakthrough to restore the parliament.

Mr Swann stated that he would support a budget being imposed by Westminster, if necessary.

DUP leader Arlene Foster has dismissed any suggestion of a standalone Irish language law emerging from Stormont's power-sharing negotiations.

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The devolved government in Belfast has been suspended since January 2017, when Sinn Fein pulled out of the power-sharing arrangement with the DUP, citing a breakdown in trust. Those discussions have been unsuccessful.

Sinn Fein wants the Irish language to be given an official status in Northern Ireland.

"However, I indicated that any such accommodation must be fair, balanced and capable of commanding support on all sides of our community".

"We have to get back to working together, we can't allow this moment to be the destruction of everything we have achieved".

In an interview with the Press Association, the DUP leader said: "There was a lot of speculation very recently, not least because the Prime Minister was here yesterday, that the deal was done".

Foster has called on the United Kingdom government to take direct rule of Northern Ireland, which means the May-led government would be responsible for setting the devolved region's budget and making policy decisions on its behalf. Important decisions impacting on everyone in Northern... As the PM said during her visit on Monday, we are ready to bring forward legislation to enable an executive to be formed. That is not possible at this time.

The DUP and Sinn Fein have shared power under a peace process that began with the 1998 Good Friday Agreement following decades of sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland.

'Restoring a sustainable and fully functioning devolved government will remain our goal but we will not accept a one-sided deal.

The DUP and Sinn Fein negotiating teams are set for crunch meetings on Wednesday to establish if the basis for an agreement exists.

"We can not and will not be held to ransom by those who have refused to form an Executive for over 13 months".

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