Party leaders in Northern Ireland have indicated they are keen for talks to get Stormont back up and running in the wake of the 2019 General Election.
Northern Ireland's two main parties suffered setbacks as some voters urged them to return to devolved power-sharing.
It has been almost three years since the collapse of government at Stormont and its impact has been felt on education and the health system.
Speaking to UTV, DUP leader Arlene Foster said she was looking at talks to restore power-sharing resuming next week.
She said: “I hope what happens next week is that the parties will come together and that we can find solutions to what are tricky problems, there’s no doubt about that, but I think that when you look at the problems in our health service, when you look at the problems that are coming down the line in terms of our education service, we have bigger issues to deal with so let’s get back into the Assembly and deal with those issues because that’s what people expect us to do when they elect us.”
Full interview with Arlene Foster:
Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald said she and her negotiating team would work towards securing agreement on outstanding issues blocking the resumption of a government in Northern Ireland.
“We need to get the assembly and the Executive back up and running, I mean we need pace, we need purpose to ensure that we deliver good governance for every citizen,” she said.
“I believe that’s possible, and certainly we’re going into the talks on Monday to make that happen.”
While SDLP leader Colum Eastwood, who will be going to Westminster as the new Foyle MP, said it was important that politicians deliver for the people in whichever institution they are elected to.
Colum Eastwood said “People are fed up with their representatives standing outside looking in the window, they wanted people to be in there whether that’s in Westminster fighting for us or Stormont delivering for us because they can see the public sector is crumbling, they know that their children are leaving Derry to find work in other countries around the world and they’re fed up with it so let’s begin to deal with those problems, let’s stop political squabbling and get back to work.”
Alliance Party leader Naomi Long also stressed the importance of Northern Ireland parties coming together in order to carry out the will of the people here.
She said: “They have clearly said that what they want is a Stormont Executive that can deliver for them, they were clear on the doorsteps that what worries them is issues such as the health service and education.
“We have a duty now to make it work so I think all of the parties have been sent individual messages about it and I think we know need to take those messages around the table and we need to get back there but we don’t know what the situation will be on Monday, we don’t know who the Secretary of State will be, but we’re ready on Monday to go to talks, whoever the Secretary of State is, we expect them convene something on Monday and we will be there, we will be constructive and we will step up and play our part because I don’t believe that this is a sustainable way to live.”