Northern Ireland

Stormont talks continue as Monday's deadline looms

The talks are being held at Stormont Castle
Image caption The talks are being held at Stormont Castle

Representatives of the main political parties and the UK and Irish governments will resume talks on Saturday morning at Stormont Castle.

The discussions are aimed at restoring a power sharing executive before Monday's deadline.

Normally the Stormont Estate is the preserve of joggers, and tourists at weekends.

However, on Saturday, politicians and officials will be on site as attempts to make a deal intensify.

'Stumbling blocks'

Monday's 16:00 BST deadline has focused minds and talks went on late on Friday night.

The expectation is that Saturday's discussions will run into the evening. The process has been described as being at a critical stage.

Two of the main stumbling blocks surround agreement on legacy issues and Irish language.

One talks source suggested that unless positions changed it was hard to see how a consensus on legacy issues could emerge by Monday, but hinted that some progress was being made on budgetary matters and a programme for government.

Although in the past talks deadlines have been broken and extended - this time it is different.

If a deal is not struck by late Monday and a First and Deputy First Minster are in place the Secretary of State James Brokenshire is obliged to quickly call a fresh assembly poll.

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