London and Dublin 'ready to help' if Northern Ireland deadlock cannot be broken

Government intervention over the stalled Northern Irish Stormont talks on policing and justice powers is likely to move a step closer today when the British and Irish prime ministers meet in London.





Gordon Brown and Brian Cowen are expected to reiterate that the deadlock can only be broken by Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) themselves — but stress London and Dublin remain ready to help prevent stalemate turning into disaster.



The premiers will probably await the outcome of a face-to-face meeting between DUP leader Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness which could lead to the resumption of negotiations broken off last Wednesday.



Mr Cowen said yesterday the ideal situation was for Mr Robinson and Mr McGuinness to come towards agreement on the outstanding issues, which include a mechanism to deal with parades disputes, along with the other political parties.



But speaking on RTE, he added that the governments had a responsibility as guarantors of the Good Friday and St Andrews agreements to ensure their implementation, which includes devolution of policing and justice.



Mr Cowen, who will be joined at the talks by his Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin, has spoken to Mr McGuinness on a number of occasions over the weekend.



Sinn Fein asked for the “critical and defining” head-to-head between Robinson and McGuinness after a meeting of its ard chomhairle (executive) in Dublin on Saturday to assess whether agreement on a date for the transfer of responsibilities over police, courts and the prison service will prove possible in the immediate future.



The DUP said it remained available for meetings but no formal request from Sinn Fein had been received. The meeting between the Stormont ‘top two' could still go ahead at some point today.



With little prospect of further progress in the short term, however, the governments are likely to have to launch another devolution rescue mission, with premiers Brown and Cowen flying into Belfast, perhaps as early as later this week.



Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams also called on the governments unilaterally to name a date for the handover of justice powers from Westminster — and said there were deeper structural problems in the “dysfunctional” Office of First and Deputy First Minister.



Mr Adams made clear he had no reason to expect up-coming talks to be any more successful than the eight days of negotiations which followed Mr Robinson's decision to stand aside as First Minister for six weeks. The DUP leader has been replaced by Arlene Foster to focus on the fall-out from allegations over his wife Iris' financial dealings with her former young lover, her health and wellbeing and management of her withdrawal from public life — as well as leading the talks.



“What we are about is fixing the problems and returning to the basis upon which these institutions were established — the Good Friday Agreement and St Andrews Agreement,” the West Belfast MP said. “If that is not possible then no self respecting public representative or political party would want to be part of what would be nothing less than a charade.”



Sinn Fein's team pulled out of the talks to report to its office board on Thursday which then called the ard chomhairle meeting at Dublin airport, with the prospect that Mr McGuinness could resign as Deputy First Minister.



But instead the party stopped short of the ‘nuclear option' and opted instead to maintain pressure on the DUP and the two governments, while keeping its political powder dry for another day.

Source: The Belfast Telegraph

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist / Physio / Osteopath

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for o...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Sales Executive - Contract Hire

£35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leader provides c...

Recruitment Genius: Project Coordinator

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most