DUP and SF sail through another 'deadline' after 'progress'

DUP and SF sail through another 'deadline' after 'progress'”

Britain is planning to take over Northern Ireland's budget as hopes for a last-minute power-sharing deal fade, ten months after Stormont's coalition executive collapsed.

The secretary of state for Northern Ireland has extended the deadline for the region's two main parties to reach a deal to restore powersharing.

A senior Sinn Fein negotiating team included its Dublin-based leader, Gerry Adams, and deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald as well as another senior TD, Pearse Doherty.

However, on Monday night he said the parties have made progress and he was therefore going to give them more time.

"In the light of this, I believe it is right to defer the assessment on whether to introduce legislation to Parliament this week to enable an executive to be formed", Brokenshire said in a statement.

A budget set by the British government would be a major step towards direct rule from London for the first time in a decade, which observers have warned could destabilize a delicate political balance in the region.

Before discussions began on Monday morning the DUP called on Mr Brokenshire to set a budget to ensure a "measure of good government" in the region.

But Sinn Fein in January pulled out complaining it was not being treated as an equal partner.

Sinn Fein's Conor Murphy said: "If the political institutions are to be sustainable.that requires an end to the DUP's denial of rights citizens enjoy everywhere else on these islands, language rights, marriage rights and the right to a coroner's court".

Northern Ireland will have to wait for the £1billion in extra funding secured by the DUP as part of its post-election deal with the Conservatives if the Government has to impose a budget on the province, according to reports.

Prime Minister Theresa May's official spokesman said the Government was still working with the parties on reaching an agreement.

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