David Cameron and Enda Kenny urge an end to Northern Ireland political deadlock
Prime Minister David Cameron and Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny have urged Northern Ireland's parties to end the political deadlock threatening the collapse of power-sharing in the province.
Following talks in Downing Street yesterday, Mr Cameron said the situation was "serious" and joined Mr Kenny in calling on the parties to fully implement the Stormont house agreement.
The deal struck last year between the two governments and the five parties on the Executive in the Northern Ireland Assembly, was intended to enable progress on a number of outstanding issues and allow the budget to go ahead.
But the whole agreement is threatened by the decision of Sinn Fein and the SDLP to veto the implementation of UK welfare cuts in Northern Ireland.
The Democratic Unionists have warned that unless the deadlock is resolved the Executive will be left with a £600m funding "black hole", a gap that could lead to the collapse of the power sharing institutions.
Mr Cameron said: "The current situation in Northern Ireland is serious."
"It is vital that Northern Ireland's political leaders deliver on their side of the deal if we are to deliver a brighter, more secure future for the people there."
Mr Kenny added: "We recognise the difficulties that must be and are being faced by the Northern Ireland parties as they continue to have our support in seeking to resolve their budgetary issues."
He said that dealing with "legacy issues" from the Troubles - such as the murder of solicitor Pat Finucane - was also an important part of the agreement.
Back in Belfast, Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness laid the blame for the crisis at the door of Mr Cameron's government.
Mr McGuinness said: "We are facing into a political and financial crisis that has been inflicted upon us by the economic policies of the Conservative government in Westminster."