Coveney calls for North deal to 'involve all five parties'

DUP leader Arlene Foster | Charles McQuillan  Getty Images

DUP leader Arlene Foster | Charles McQuillan Getty Images

She said: "We want to see an administration set up again that will last and one that will last for all of the people of Northern Ireland".

Mr Varadkar said that restoring powersharing was particularly important with the start of the formal Brexit negotiations in Brussels.

Mr Coveney said a deal was "do-able" but there were differences between the parties that needed to be bridged.

Speaking in Downing Street alongside Mr Varadka, Mrs May dismissed these concerns as she claimed her government "remains absolutely steadfast" in its commitment to upholding the Good Friday Agreement.

"I have been assured by Arlene Foster that that is not going to be the case and they are fighting for a deal that is good for Northern Ireland and good for everybody", he said.

"Among other things, we will discuss Northern Ireland and the need to re-establish devolved government, and Brexit, focusing on how we can avoid any adverse impact on the rights and freedoms of our citizens, on trade and the economy".

Leo Varadkar, the incoming Taoiseach, last week said the British government should not get "too close" to any Northern Irish party, as U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May tries to secure the backing of the Northern Irish unionist party after she lost her House of Commons majority in a general election at the beginning of June.

On Friday, Ms Foster signalled her optimism that a deal to restore powersharing by a June 29 deadline could be done, adding that it "takes two to tango and we're ready to dance".

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Mr Coveney said several "core issues" still stand in the way of an agreement but he said he did not consider them "insurmountable".

Colum Eastwood, leader of the SDLP, Northern Ireland's second-largest Irish nationalist party, said his party had a "positive" meeting with the prime minister over her efforts to come up with a deal with the DUP.

The talks take place in the context of the ongoing negotiations between Prime Minister Theresa May and the DUP to strike a parliamentary deal to support her minority Government.

"I think it's fair to say that Northern Ireland is perhaps the most vulnerable part of Europe to a bad Brexit deal should that happen", he said.

"We also respect the other parties' mandates, we want to get back to an executive that has all the parties around the table to collectively take decisions".

"We are working away at them and will continue to work away at them".

Sinn Féin's Stormont leader Michelle O'Neill said her party was up for striking a deal.

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