Belfast Telegraph

Powersharing talks break up for the weekend as new deadline looms

Talks to restore powersharing at Stormont have broken up for the weekend.

Negotiations are expected to resume on Monday - a day the government has identified as another deadline in the protracted process to salvage the powersharing institutions.

If Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionists fail to reach consensus on Monday, Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire is set to intervene and set a budget for Stormont's rudderless public services.

While that will not represent full re-imposition of Westminster direct rule, it will be another significant step in that direction.

It has been 10 months since Northern Ireland had a properly functioning powersharing administration.

The institutions imploded in January amid a row about a botched green energy scheme, but that rift exposed a series of more deep-seated issues dividing the region's two largest parties.

Sinn Fein and the DUP remain at loggerheads over proposed laws to protect Irish language speakers in the region.

While the UK and Irish governments are also involved in the talks process, the smaller Stormont parties have not been invited to participate in the current round of negotiations.

On Friday night, a source said no talks were expected over the weekend.

"They will resume again on Monday," said the source.

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