Northern Ireland power-sharing talks paused until after UK election

Northern Ireland Secretary of State James Brokenshire speaks to media outside Stormont Castle in Belfast

BELFAST (Reuters) – Northern Ireland’s main political parties have agreed to pause talks on forming a power-sharing government until after Britain’s general election on June 8, the British government said on Thursday.

The semi-autonomous Belfast government collapsed in January and despite fresh regional elections in March, Irish nationalists and pro-British unionists have failed to agree a deal to form a new executive.

That has left Northern Ireland without political leadership as Britain prepares to start negotiations on exiting the European Union.

The British government last week agreed to extend a deadline on forming a government until June 29 to avoid the risk of election campaigning derailing the talks. [nL8N1HT1OJ] On Thursday they agreed to pause talks during the campaign.

“At roundtable discussions … it was agreed that formal talks to establish an Executive will be paused until after the General Election,” Secretary of State for Northern Ireland James Brokenshire said in a statement.

(Reporting by Amanda Ferguson; Writing by Conor Humphries; Editing by Gareth Jones)