Minister Charlie Flanagan's warning of Stormont collapse
The Republic's Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan has voiced grave fears that Northern Ireland's institutions are about to collapse.
Mr Flanagan sounded a stark warning that the Assembly and the wider devolved institutions in Belfast were in serious difficulty.
"There is a great risk that the current impasse will result in the collapse of the institutions which would be very grave and serious," he said.
"There is not a huge amount of time, but over the next few weeks, there is an opportunity for all the parties in Northern Ireland to resolve the issues of finance and welfare reform.
"If the institutions collapse, there is no knowing when they might be re-established. You are looking at a prolonged period of direct rule."
He added: "Northern Ireland would be facing a very uncertain future, a climate of instability which often times feeds into aggression and violence and the dark old days of the past."