Northern Ireland news

No further detail from NIO on Karen Bradley's Stormont talks plan

Karen Bradley said she planned to hold talks with the Stormont parties this week

THE Northern Ireland Office (NIO) has declined to give any further detail about Karen Bradley's plans to hold discussions with Stormont's party leaders this week in the latest bid to restore devolution.

The secretary of state outlined her intentions in Westminster on Tuesday as she made a statement following Lyra McKee's murder.

Mrs Bradley had previously indicated that she planned to make a fresh bid to convene talks after next week's local government elections.

In the wake of Ms McKee's killing in Derry last week, several parties called for immediate talks.

Read more: Lyra McKee funeral hears priest challenge politicians

In her address to MPs, Mrs Bradley acknowledged those "calling for political leaders now to come together" and welcomed the "united display from leaders" in the Creggan estate last Friday.

"I intend to hold discussions with party leaders later this week to see what progress can be made," she said.

"Our clear and overriding objective must be the restoration of all the political institutions established by the Belfast Agreement."

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However, when contacted by The Irish News yesterday, an NIO spokesman was unable to provide any timescale or format for the talks.

Earlier this month, Mrs Bradley said she had proposed a "short, focused set of five-party talks" aimed at restoring devolution.

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To date, the British government has resisted calls to bring in an outside talks chair, but speaking in Westminster a fortnight ago, she said she was "looking at all options".

There has been no substantive engagement between the DUP and Sinn Féin since the eleventh hour collapse of the negotiations in February last year.

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