Martin McGuinness: urgent meeting

SINN Féin's Martin McGuinness is seeking an urgent meeting with the North's first minister Peter Robinson in an attempt to save the North's power-sharing executivee.

The party has also asked the Irish and British governments to "set a date now" for transfer of policing and justice powers from London to Belfast, following last week's collapse of talks between Sinn Féin and the DUP.

Speaking to the media during the party's ard chomhairle meeting in Dublin yesterday, party president Gerry Adams said: "Martin McGuinness will be seeking an urgent meeting with Peter Robinson. This will be a critical and defining engagement.

"Some of the commentary around this issue has been dogged by talk of Sinn Féin collapsing the institutions and forcing an election. This is not about Sinn Féin hyping things up. This is not a game of poker. If the institutions are not working, if they are not delivering, then they become pointless and unsustainable."

Adams said that the British and Irish governments' were both in contact on Friday night but warned: "The governments are not the referees in this. They are the guarantors with responsibilities and obligations."

The Sunday Tribune understands that talks between Taoiseach Brian Cowen, British prime minister Gordon Brown, the North's first minister Peter Robinson and deputy first minister Martin McGuinness will now take place and McGuinness will effectively be given "power of attorney" to negotiate on behalf of Sinn Féin.

While claiming that the DUP had not honoured the terms of the three-year-old St Andrew's agreement, Adams added that the two governments "are also in default of outstanding issues, particularly equality issues such as language rights".

He said his party want to "fix the problems" and return to the basis of the Good Friday and St Andrew's agreements but if that is not possible, then there is no point in continuing in the current arrangement, which he dubbed a "charade".