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Taoiseach speaks with Prime Minister May

The Taoiseach and the British Prime Minister have spoken by phone in relation to the political situation in Northern Ireland.

They agreed that the gap between the two parties is narrow.

Both leaders also expressed the view that it is still possible to form an Executive which would be in the interests of all the people of Northern Ireland.

The Taoiseach made the point that there could be no return to direct rule as it existed prior to the Good Friday Agreement and that the various provisions of the Agreement would have to be honoured.

The Prime Minister made clear that she did not want to see a return to direct rule and that moves to implement a Budget for Northern Ireland were not the first step on the road to direct rule.

Both leaders agreed that there is still time to reach an agreement and both thanked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney and the Northern Secretary James Brokenshire for their ongoing work.

The Taoiseach and the Prime Minister agreed to stay in touch on the matter.