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Bid to restore Stormont powersharing

By Michael McHugh, Press Association

The British and Irish Governments are due to make an announcement later about a fresh bid to restore Stormont powersharing.

It is expected talks could take place after local council elections in Northern Ireland on May 2.

On Wednesday, Catholic peacemaking priest Fr Martin Magill challenged politicians as to why it had taken the death of 29-year-old Lyra McKee to unite them, at her funeral.

Sinn Fein has rejected Arlene Foster's latest offer to break the political impasse in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley and Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney are expected to hold a press conference later on Friday in Belfast.

The DUP leader Arlene Foster wants a twin-track approach where the devolved institutions are restored quickly to deal with issues like running the health service, while a separate process addresses disagreements like that over same-sex marriage.

Sinn Fein deputy leader Michelle O'Neill has rejected that and said issues like marriage equality and protection for the Irish language need to be delivered to pave the way for restoration of the devolved institutions.

The Northern Ireland Office would neither confirm nor deny Friday's expected development but a spokesman said it was longstanding policy to seek restoration of devolution as soon as possible.

The Stormont Assembly and ministerial Executive collapsed more than two years ago in a row between the former powersharing partners over a botched green energy scheme.

Multiple rounds of talks have failed to secure their restoration.

Sinn Fein leader Mary-Lou McDonald has said her party is ready to play a full part in a "serious and meaningful" talks process aimed at restoration.

The DUP has consistently called for devolution to be revived or for the UK Government to step in to make more decisions.

The Northern Ireland Secretary has already said she intends to hold discussions with Stormont's party leaders.

They attended a vigil together in Londonderry after Miss McKee was shot dead by dissident republicans.

Mrs Foster has said Sinn Fein could not get everything it wanted, "a 5-0 victory", and her party receive nothing.

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