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Stormont figureheads back within days

DUP leader Peter Robinson is expected to return from his summer vacation over the coming days Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker.

The first minister and deputy first minister are expected to return from their respective holidays over the coming days, Stormont sources have confirmed.

Although the ruling executive is in the midst of its greatest crisis since it returned from prolonged suspension in 2008, the leaders of the DUP and Sinn Féin assembly teams have been absent this week.

Mr Robinson is known to enjoy a stateside trip during the summer recess, though it is not known where he is holidaying this year.

Mr McGuinness is thought to prefer a break closer to home, but his holiday destination this year has not been disclosed.

The two figureheads' recent absence from the political theatre has raised a few eyebrows, given the severity of the crisis in the power-sharing institutions.

When other administrations encounter problems, it is common practice for party leaders and senior politicians to cut their holidays short.

It is also understood that Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams is on holiday.

Spokesmen for both the DUP and Sinn Féin said the Stormont leaders were expected to return from their holidays before the start of next week.

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