Page last updated at 22:18 GMT, Monday, 21 September 2009 23:18 UK

No agreement after policing talks

Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson
Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness said progress was made

Peter Robinson has said he and Martin McGuinness have made progress in their discussions with Gordon Brown over a budget for policing and justice.

The talks on devolving the powers will continue on Wednesday in New York where the first and deputy first ministers are to attend an economic conference.

Monday's talks at Downing Street lasted for about two hours.

Afterwards, Mr Robinson and Mr McGuinness gave separate news conferences.

Mr Robinson said they discussed a wide range of issues but no overall deal had been agreed.

"As the prime minister was able to make offers on some elements, we will now consider these in greater detail," he said.

"A number of big ticket issues remain outstanding and have not been addressed by the government, however, the prime minister has given a commitment to deal with these matters later this week.

"Whilst I will be travelling to New York on Wednesday morning, I have made it clear that these financial discussions will not be concluded in the States.

"As far as I am concerned, the party will not be concluding the financial deal until the party officers and our assembly group have evaluated the package and are satisfied."

He said community confidence remained the crucial test for devolving policing and justice powers.

'Significant progress'

The deputy first minister, Mr McGuinness, said progress was significant and he was hopeful a deal could be concluded later this week.

"I said last week that I thought we had made good progress," he said.

"I think we've made further good progress - even significant progress - in the course of our discussions this evening around a range of issues that are of concern to us.

"We are hoping to conclude our discussions on all of this in New York on Wednesday."

Meanwhile, the Conservative Party's Northern Ireland spokesman, Owen Paterson, warned his party would not give any guarantees about the funding of policing and justice powers.

Mr Robinson had called on Tory leader David Cameron to approve any financial package offered by the prime minister, saying there was no point agreeing a package with one government when another might take over.



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