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Sinn Fein: No significant progress in Stormont crisis talks

By Claire Williamson

Sinn Fein's Michelle O'Neill has said there has been no significant progress during crisis talks at Stormont to restore Northern Ireland's powersharing Executive.

Following the collapse of the previous round of talks last week, the Northern Ireland Office invited the parties back for "intensive talks" which began on Monday.

Secretary of State James Brokenshire has given parties until April 18, when Westminster returns after the Easter recess.

A number of matters related to the divisive issue of legacy were agreed among political parties on Tuesday. However, more contentious Troubles-related issues were set for discussion on Wednesday.

Speaking on Wednesday Sinn Fein's leader in Northern Ireland gave a pessimistic assessment of the three days of talks that have passed.

Ms O'Neill said there had been lots of meetings and engagements but "not a lot of progress".

She said: "It's clear to us that the DUP and British Government have failed to focus on the key issues of the recent election. Our position is very clear we will not return to the status quo."

The Sinn Fein MLA said there were a number of "stumbling blocks" including legacy issues.

She said: "We need to see equality and rights for all of our citizens.

"We want these institutions to work."

She added: "We've had quite a number of meetings but have seen no progress to date that we could report as anything significant."

Mrs O'Neill said: "We remain focused and we will continue to engage with all the parties and the two governments to try and find a way forward."

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