Page last updated at 16:54 GMT, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 17:54 UK

Sinn Fein meets with Gordon Brown

The DUP met Gordon Brown on Tuesday

Sinn Féin has held talks with the Prime Minister in Downing Street.

Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness are understood to have met Gordon Brown amid fears of a standoff between Sinn Fein and the DUP at Stormont.

DUP leader and NI First Minister Peter Robinson, and party colleague Gregory Campbell, met Mr Brown on Tuesday.

A Sinn Féin source said its meeting focused on issues including the devolution of policing and justice powers.

The DUP has played down talk of deadlock at Stormont, while Sinn Féin described its Downing Street visit as "routine".

Other issues the two parties are split on include education reform, an Irish Language Act and the future of the Maze prison site.

On Tuesday, a meeting of the NI power-sharing executive, set for Thursday, was called off at short notice.

Other parties have claimed that a standoff between the DUP and Sinn Féin is causing deadlock in the executive.

In the midst of this economic crisis we have executive meetings cancelled at the drop of a hat
The SDLP's Alasdair McDonnell

SDLP deputy leader Alasdair McDonnell said divisions between the two parties were preventing the assembly tackling the price rises hitting consumers as a result of the international economic crisis.

"Devolution was supposed to make a difference to people's lives and yet in the midst of this economic crisis we have executive meetings cancelled at the drop of a hat," he said.

The cancellation of Thursday's meeting means ministers will not have held a formal round-table meeting for more than a month.

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