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Parties are called for crisis talks


Invite: Theresa Villiers

Invite: Theresa Villiers

Invite: Theresa Villiers

Stormont's five main political parties have been summoned to urgent round-table talks as the financial crisis around the budget deepens.

Secretary of State Theresa Villiers has invited the DUP, Sinn Fein, Ulster Unionists, SDLP and Alliance to the meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

And it will also involve the Dublin Government, with Irish Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan attending - his first trip since the Stormont House Agreement (SHA) was reached a few days before Christmas.

The five party leaders at Stormont have met on an almost weekly basis - apart from a break during the general election - under the auspices of the SHA review group.

It follows the failure of the Executive on Thursday to find a way forward after MLAs couldn't agree on the implementation of welfare reform, throwing the budget into crisis.

Dublin's Department of Foreign Affairs said the failure to pass the welfare legislation would have "a direct and major impact on the prospects for implementing the totality of the SHA".

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein's executive is meeting in Dublin today to consider the gathering crisis after the party and the SDLP blocked the Welfare Bill by petitions of concern.

Belfast Telegraph