The Northern Ireland assembly has met for the first time in nearly four years in a bid to break the deadlock in the peace process.
But pundits agree the chances of reaching a power-sharing deal look slim,with Ian Paisley’s unionist DUP party saying that Republican Sinn Fein, led by Gerry Adams, had a long way to go before any serious talks were possible.
The DUP says the Irish Republican Army must give up all its weapons and renounce crime before it can negotiate with Sinn Fein.
However Sinn Fein insists the onus is on the DUP to move forward.
The tone is not one of compromise and with moderates such as the province’s former first minister David Trimble losing influence to hardliners, it will not be easy to reach a deal by November 24.
That is the deadline set by the British government, after which it says it will scrap the Stormont Assembly if there is no progress in this bitterly divided region.
The parliament was suspended amid allegations of IRA spying in 2002.