Pressure is mounting on political parties in the North ahead of a deadline to form a power sharing Executive.
The Secretary of State James Brokenshire previously indicated negotiations won't be permitted to continue past Easter.
Issues such as legacy and an Irish Language Act appear to remain the major sticking points in the talks.
The newly appointed leader of the Ulster Unionist Party Robin Swann says direct rule would be a retrograde step.
Meanwhile, West Tyrone MLA Daniel Mc Crossan is warning that if agreement is not reached in the foreseeable future, the very existence of power-sharing in Northern Ireland could be lost for a generation.............