Belfast Telegraph

Friday evening will reveal if Northern Ireland talks deal possible: Charlie Flanagan

We owe it to victims, survivors, families and all of Northern Ireland, says Irish minister

By Jonny Bell

Irish foreign affairs minister Charlie Flanagan has said it will become evident by Friday evening if a deal can be brokered on the ongoing political talks.

Addressing the media at lunchtime on Friday, Mr Flanagan said he was encouraged by the movement in the talks process.

"I refer particularly to the legacy matters which are ongoing here for decades," he said.

"And I believe this is an opportunity that we have to deal with the legacy issues once and for all. We owe it to victims, survivors, families and communities and people right across Northern Ireland.

"This is perhaps the only opportunity we have to deal with the manner in which we set up the institutions as provided for in the Stormont Agreement two years ago."

Since the election at the beginning of March the two governments and the political parties have been locked in talks in a bid to restore the devolved institutions. The deadline is Monday at 4pm when nominations must be made for the positions of First and deputy First Ministers.

If no deal is reached an election must be called, although there is speculation James Brokenshire could consider a delay or implementing direct rule, which would require legislative involvement from Westminster.

More: Northern Ireland Secretary of State Brokenshire believes talks deal 'achievable' by Monday

Earlier the Secretary of State said a deal to form a new Executive from the on-going Stormont talks was "achievable" despite time "being short".

He said: "We are now entering the final few days available to political parties here in Northern Ireland to form an Executive.

"There are a number of issues where I see common ground and I firmly believe resolution can be achieved. But there are other issues that still remain to be resolved in order for an Executive to be formed on Monday."

Sinn Fein has insisted there can be no extension to the looming deadline to restore powersharing at Stormont.

Read more: Gerry Adams: Sinn Fein opposed to extension of powersharing deadline

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