The leaders of Ireland's four main Churches have expressed disappointment that it was not possible for devolution to be restored before Christmas but urged the parties to 'go that extra mile.'
It is a view that will be widely shared as we approach 2020 and the third anniversary of the collapse of the institutions.
No one can say that our public services are in better shape as a result of the political vacuum. Indeed, it is clear the opposite is the case, particularly in terms of the health service which is in deep crisis and needing urgent intervention.
The results of the Westminster election earlier this month indicated a firm appetite for moving forward and getting to grips with our serious problems.
Hopes were raised last week of a pre-Christmas deal then dashed with the DUP being blamed for thwarting agreement.
The talks have now been paused and we are unlikely to see any progress until the New Year when the prospect of fresh elections will be hanging over proceedings.
It is essential that we get the power-sharing executive back up and running but just as important is ensuring that any restored institutions are sustainable, focused on good governance and committed to delivering for all citizens.