Northern Ireland

Political parties meet church leaders over talks deadlock

Stormont Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption The Stormont institutions collapsed in January 2017

Northern Ireland's five main political parties have held talks with church leaders from across Ireland about the Stormont deadlock.

The devolved institutions collapsed more than 20 months ago over a row about a flawed green energy scheme.

Several talks processes aimed at restoring power-sharing have failed.

The DUP leader Arlene Foster and Sinn Féin's Stormont leader Michelle O'Neill were among the political representatives at Friday's meeting.

The SDLP leader Colum Eastwood, the Ulster Unionist leader Robin Swann and Alliance's deputy leader Stephen Farry were also present.

The head of Ireland's Catholic Church, Archbishop Eamon Martin took part, as did the moderator of the Presbyterian Church, Charles McMullen.

Mrs Foster said she welcomed the opportunity to talk to church leaders about how the could "help with challenges" about decision-making, given the ongoing lack of an executive and assembly.

Ms O'Neill described the meeting as "positive" and said the parties and churches shared a "collective responsibility to work for the common good of all in society".