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Parties at Stormont Castle warned not to drink tap water over contamination fears

Parties at Stormont Castle have been warned not to drink the tap water as it may be contaminated.

The Northern Ireland Executive Office has confirmed that an investigation has been launched into the potential contamination of the water supply at the talks venue.

A spokesman said: "Restrictions on the use of tap water have been put in place as a precautionary measure pending investigation of possible contamination of the water supply."

According to one insider the fresh water supply has not been available since Monday.

"We've not been able to use the tap water from Monday.

"Maybe the lack of tap water will be an incentive to hurry the talks process along," he said.

Meetings between the political parties and the British and Irish governments have been taking place in Stormont Castle, a mansion on the Stormont Estate.

The building was the main meeting place of the Northern Ireland Executive before the government collapsed.

Talks to restore powersharing have so far failed to reach agreement. They are set to resume after Easter in a bid to resolve the political crisis.

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