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Leaders fight to save Northern Ireland Assembly

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Leaders fight to save Northern Ireland Assembly


The British and Irish leaders are in Belfast in a last-minute attempt to try to save Northern Ireland’s fragile administration that’s threatened by a row over policing and justice.

Earlier Gordon Brown and Brian Cowen held talks in London. The British Prime Minister is trying to broker a deal over the transfer of powers from London.

The growing crisis has led to fears of a collapse in the political institutions at Stormont.

Peter Robinson’s Democratic Unionist party has been accused of stalling the process. His meeting with Martin McGuinness, Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister, lasted barely half an hour.

Sinn Fein’s leader said he was frustrated with the DUP over the lack of progress on devolving policing – an increasingly divisive but key element in the Northern Ireland peace process.

Sinn Fein wants responsibilities transferred from Westminster to Stormont as soon as possible. The DUP is wary of handing power to local politicians.

So serious is the risk of the administration collapsing that Gordon Brown has postponed Tuesday’s cabinet meeting to stay in Belfast.

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