Brokenshire in Stormont talks with five main NI parties

Northern Ireland's politicians are warned the 'window of opportunity is closing' to avoid direct rule for the first time in a decade as talks fail again

Northern Ireland's politicians are warned the 'window of opportunity is closing' to avoid direct rule for the first time in a decade as talks fail again

The DUP and Sinn Fein had been sharing power for nearly 10 years when the devolved government collapsed over a botched renewable energy scheme costing millions of pounds.

The secretary of state will meet with Northern Ireland's main political parties on Monday to discuss the current impasse at Stormont.

Sinn Fein was responding to DUP leader Arlene Foster's appeal late Thursday to rejoin the devolved government while the two sides continue negotiations "in parallel" to resolve long-term differences. "Whether that be marriage rights, language rights, economic rights or cultural rights", she said.

"We do not believe that there is a need to prolong these sets of talks", said Ms Foster.

"Certainly for our part we do".

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Sinn Féin Irish Language spokesperson Councillor Kevin Campbell has accused DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson of "scraping the bottom of the barrel" in his opposition to an Irish Language Act.

"While the outcome of talks remains urgent, we are looking at a time frame of at least mid-October before parliament returns and has to make decisions on the best way forward for Northern Ireland, " he added. "We have no red lines".

Addressing her party executive for the first time since the General Election, she dismissed claims that the DUP did not want a return to devolution because of "the unprecedented position" it now finds itself in Westminster. Now we stand on the cusp of a new century for Northern Ireland.

In a statement, she said Foster's comments demonstrated that the DUP has not "listened or acknowledged the reasons for [Martin McGuinness'] resignation".

Sinn Fein leader Michelle O'Neill said last week: "Establishing an Executive that may collapse after a matter of months on the same issues will only fail all our people".

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