N. Ireland Politics

Stormont: NI secretary 'will not impose timetable'

Karen Bradley
Image caption Secretary of State for Northern Ireland was in America for Saint Patrick's Day

The Northern Ireland secretary has said she will not impose a framework deal or timetable in which to resume negotiations at Stormont.

Karen Bradley made the comments during a short trip to Washington and New York to celebrate St Patrick's Day.

Her comments come after the taoiseach (Irish prime minister) called for "a redoubled effort" to resolve issues after Easter.

Northern Ireland has been without devolved government since January 2017.

The last round of talks ended in February following disagreements between Sinn Féin and the DUP about legislation for the Irish language.

'Not sitting on our hands'

Ms Bradley told the Press Association that she was considering all options, but insisted her role was to "facilitate not impose".

"Putting artificial deadlines, putting barriers in the way, putting things that stop the parties back together in place is not what we're about," she said.

Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption The power-sharing government in Northern Ireland collapsed in January 2017

"The doesn't mean we're sitting on our hands and hoping it all goes right. Absolutely not.

"I cannot tell two grown-up parties in the DUP and Sinn Féin, who are the two parties that need to make an agreement, to reach an accommodation and come to an accommodation to form a devolved government.

"They have to do that themselves."

Ms Bradley also added that she is "considering" whether the reinstallation of a US envoy might help the ongoing impasse.

"I want to reflect on some of the conversations I've had this week," she said.

"Thoughts on what a representative could do, an economic role maybe, and come to a determination.

"I don't think we should assume that something worked in the past it's going to work now.

"We've got to look at the situation we face today."

Last month, the US government revealed that it was considering a list of people for the role of special envoy to Northern Ireland.