Belfast Telegraph

Stormont House crisis talks: Participants summoned for 'make or break' discussions

By Staff Reporter

Participants in the Stormont House crisis talks have been summoned to a 10.30am meeting on Monday for a 'make or break' marathon session, the Belfast Telegraph has learned.

The news comes after the First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness visited Downing Street yesterday for a meeting with David Cameron and Secretary of State Theresa Villiers.

No details of the meeting have been revealed, but informed sources said last night that 'hothouse' negotiations are scheduled to begin on Monday to push the crisis talks over the line.

The private encounter in London was characterised as an "update" meeting on all aspects of the talks, but it is understood there was a focus on the Assembly's acute financial crisis.

A range of disputes have been on the agenda in ongoing negotiations between the Government and our main parties.

A budget wrangle has left the power-sharing administration facing an unsustainable black hole of hundreds of millions of pounds.

A resolution to the long-standing impasse over the Executive's failure to implement the Government's welfare reforms will be crucial if a breakthrough is to be made next week.

It is understood that Stormont leaders want the Government to commit extra funding to the power-sharing Executive as part of any settlement.

The wider negotiations, which have been ongoing for weeks, are also trying to find a way forward on other problems causing the current instability at Stormont, including the fallout from a recent murder linked to the IRA and a row over how to deal with the legacy of the Troubles.

While it is understood progress has been made in a number of areas, the fate of the negotiations still hangs in the balance.

A Downing Street spokesman confirmed that a "private meeting" took place.

Belfast Telegraph


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