Arlene Foster, the leader of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, or DUP, ruled out the possibility of an agreement to restore devolved government, two days after the British and Irish prime ministers expressed hope for a breakthrough, Reuters reported.
Foster called on London to take additional financial control of the region after its two main parties failed to meet multiple deadlines on restoring an executive. The British province has been without devolved government for more than a year since Irish nationalists Sinn Fein quit a power-sharing government with the DUP.
Foster's colleague Simon Hamilton reportedly said the DUP intended to hold talks again at a later date.
The British government has had to take steps toward direct rule of Northern Ireland for the first time in 10 years, adopting a budget in late 2017 which runs until the end of March. The chief concern that the two parties failed to agree on, and that was cited as the primary reason for the breakdown by Foster, was additional rights for Irish-language speakers.
Belfast has had a limited say in Britain's Brexit talks due to the absence of a devolved government, while British Prime Minister Theresa May's government relies on support from the DUP, the Reuters report noted. Brexit is expected to have a much more significant effect on Northern Ireland compared to other parts of the U.K.