It has been confirmed that Taoiseach Bertie Ahern will hold talks with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown next Sunday.

The two leaders will be in Manchester to attend ceremonies to mark the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster.

Since Gordon Brown took over as prime minister last June, Mr Ahern has had bilaterial discussions with him in Belfast and on the margins of an EU Summit in Brussels.

The next meeting has been confirmed for Manchester a week from today when both men will be attending the Derby game between Manchester United and Manchester City.

The main item on their agenda will be the recent progess in Northern Ireland. They will focus on how the two governments can continue to support the power-sharing Stormont administration in the coming year.

They will discuss the devolution of justice and policing powers from Westminster to Northern Ireland. It is now accepted this is unlikely to happen by the target date of May 2008.

They will also talk about what role they can play to assist Northern Ireland's economy.