DUP went back on a deal for Irish language, claims Sinn Féin

DUP's Arlene Foster speaking to the media at Stormont

DUP leader Arlene Foster said there was "no prospect" of negotiations leading to a new powersharing agreement with Sinn Fein.

Varadkar tweeted about his disappointment in the failed talks saying: "Power sharing and working together are the only way forward for Northern Ireland".

"We understood above all else that we had a deal, we understood we had landed on a respectful, workable accommodation", she said.

The British province has been without a devolved executive - a central part of a 1998 peace deal that ended three decades of violence - for over a year since Irish nationalists Sinn Fein withdrew from the compulsory power-sharing government with their arch-rivals, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

The newly elected party president said the ill-fated "draft agreement" was struck late last week.

The DUP is dismissing any suggestion of a deal but it would explain why the two premiers arrived out of the blue in Belfast on Monday.

"It was at that juncture that the DUP faltered", she said.

"There was no effort to enforce Irish", she said. McDonald said no consensus was reached on the region's ban on same-sex marriage.

She said the draft agreement included a commitment to establish a Stormont committee to look at a bill of rights.

The Northern Ireland Secretary also appeared to suggest Mrs May's visit to the Bombardier aircraft factory in Belfast, prior to meeting politicians at Stormont, was the main reason for her trip.

However, the new party leader said the document would not be publicly published in order to give future talks "the best chance to succeed".

Mrs McDonald said the two parties also agreed that the Stormont Executive's sensitive justice ministry would start to be allocated in a conventional manner from 2022, rather than being a jointly agreed DUP/Sinn Fein nomination. Sinn Fein accuses the DUP of sabotaging the talks, a charge rejected by their adversaries, who blame them for making too many demands and refusing to compromise.

Talks reportedly broke down over a continued disagreement on an Irish language act, which would allow - amongst other things - the right for education through Irish and bilingual signage on public buildings and roads.

"This has been a hard week, I am not going to make any pretence of that", she said.

MPs had previously warned of a Northern Ireland budget "D-day" due to a lack of funding for public services and infrastructure projects.

That rift subsequently widened to take in more long-standing disputes over language, social issues and the legacy of the Troubles.

Britain's Northern Ireland Secretary, Karen Bradley, said in the absence of a Northern Ireland administration "other challenging decisions will have to be taken by the United Kingdom government".

"The Tanaiste and the Secretary of State are in close contact and we will continue to confer with the British Government about the next steps".

"Certainly there is no appetite to move towards direct rule (from London)..."

As it stands Mrs Bradley is under a legal obligation to call another snap election in Northern Ireland but few observers see the merit in such an option, given it would likely return the same political make-up and not resolve any of the outstanding issues.

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