A fresh round of talks aimed at restoring devolution in NI will begin later, in a bid to end nearly two and a half years of political deadlock.

The talks were announced by the British and Irish governments after the murder of journalist Lyra McKee.

At her funeral, politicians came under pressure to solve the Stormont impasse.

The talks are beginning just days after council elections, which saw a surge of support for smaller parties not aligned to either unionism or nationalism.

Most notably, Northern Ireland’s fifth largest party, Alliance, saw its number of council seats rise from 32 to 53 – an increase of 65%.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Féin were again returned as the two largest parties in the council elections, but they had mixed

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