What direct rule in Northern Ireland means for the UK

DUP's Arlene Foster speaking to the media at Stormont

DUP's Arlene Foster speaking to the media at Stormont

The Irish and British governments will seek a way to get talks on restoring Northern Ireland's power-sharing government back on track and neither is contemplating a return of direct rule from London, Ireland's foreign minister said on Thursday, Reuters reported.

The unsuccessful conclusion of the meeting was explained by DUP leader Arlene Foster to have been a result of a difference in opinions over a legislation for the Irish language.

But she said Sinn Fein's demand for an Irish Language Act to enshrine the status of Irish was not "fair and balanced" and did not respect "the unionist and British identity" of Northern Ireland's Protestants.

The DUP's Gregory Campbell said what Sinn Fein said "bears no resemblance to reality" and there was no draft deal.

"We had reached an accommodation with the leadership of the DUP".

Several UK-government-set deadlines to restore the Northern Ireland administration had passed without success, raising the spectre that the British government might impose direct rule from London on Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland government collapsed in January 2017 amid a scandal surrounding an ill-fated renewable energy scheme that jeopardized the sharing of power, a key achievement of the 1998 peace treaty, ending decades of violence.

DUP MP Gregory Campbell said: "I think where the future has to lie is in trying to pick up the pieces and see if agreement is doable".

He told BBC Radio Ulster: "How irresponsible would it be for any political party to allow talks to continue with those unresolved issues, that we all knew were there, that we all knew had to be closed, how irresponsible would it have been to continue that into next week in the knowledge that a budget that to be passed". He challenged the prime minister to "take forward issues such as equal marriage".

"They have now collapsed this process".

Negotiations on forming a government in Northern Ireland failed late last week after weeks of intense talks, the Associated Press reported. The rift soon widened to broader cultural and political issues separating Northern Ireland's British unionists and Irish nationalists.

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said the development was "very disappointing" and said he would be in close contact with the British government over the coming days to establish how to proceed.

Dublin TD McDonald said there would be no quotas on Irish speakers for jobs, nor would the language be forced on anyone.

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