Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson has said there will be "no further" meetings of the powersharing executive until the political crisis over the IRA is resolved.

Mr Robinson said: "Pending a satisfactory resolution of the outstanding issues, business will not be as usual. As a first step there will be no further meetings of the Northern Ireland Executive unless we deem that there are exceptional circumstances.

"In addition, there will be no North/South ministerial meetings in any of its formats (between ministers in Belfast and Dublin).

"Our ministers shall be focused on the talks process."

Crisis talks led by the British and Irish governments are due to begin at Stormont tomorrow.

The Assembly was due to resume at Stormont today and discuss the crisis caused by the murder of Kevin McGuigan and the subsequent PSNI assessment that Provisional IRA members were involved.

The British government has also decided to legislate on welfare reform in Northern Ireland if the Stormont parties cannot reach agreement.

The DUP and Sinn Féin have been at loggerheads over the issue for months and the devolved administration in Belfast has been plunged in to financial peril.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan met with Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers in London today.

Mr Flanagan said he is hopeful the forthcoming talks process will allow the parties in Northern Ireland to chart a positive path forward and welcomed the DUP's confirmation that the party will engage in the talks.

Mr Robinson added: "If we are not satisfied that the parties are applying themselves to achieving an outcome in a reasonable timeframe we will initiate a further step or further steps. If it becomes apparent to us that a satisfactory resolution in the talks is not possible then as a last resort ministerial resignations will follow.

"However, we must make it clear that any election which follows such an eventuality will not be an election to return to the present Assembly arrangements as we will not nominate a First Minister until a fundamental and more wide-ranging negotiation produces a system that can fully function."

Branding the Assembly "not fit for purpose" Mr Robinson said the DUP would continue to push for an adjournment but his ministers would take part in Question Time "on this occasion".

He added: "In my view the Assembly is not fit for purpose as it stands today.

"Leaving aside the issue of the Kevin McGuigan murder it still wasn't fit for purpose. So, those issues have to be resolved.

"Unless those issues are resolved we will not have a functioning Assembly and we made it very clear without a resolution to these matters in the talks process our ministers' resignations will follow."


Analysis: Northern Editor Tommie Gorman

This Peter Robinson statement is not unexpected.

Tactically, he is under pressure from the Ulster Unionist party after it withdrew its minister from the power-sharing executive. So the DUP leader needed to respond, while not jeopardising the new round of political negotiations due to commence tomorrow.  

Robinson has opted for tough gestures without making a decisive move. His party won't take part in Executive meetings while the negotiations are taking place. Nor will it be involved in North-South meetings - in practical terms the schedule for such gatherings in the short-term is light.

It's not a positive political climate on the eve of the new round of negotiations.  

Sinn Féin and the SDLP have still to react to the Robinson statement. It's most unlikely that tomorrow's (inter-party) talks could hit at least a temporary problem, even before they begin.