The White House and members of the US Congress have welcomed renewed efforts to restore power-sharing in Northern Ireland.

Yesterday, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley announced that talks would commence on 7 May.

In a statement, the White House said that it is encouraging Northern Ireland’s political leaders to return to the negotiating table.

"We were shocked and saddened over the death of journalist Lyra McKee last week and reiterate our firm support for the Northern Ireland peace process," the statement added.

Members of the US Congress have also welcomed the latest developments in Northern Ireland. 

The co-chairs of the 'Friends of Ireland' caucus, Congressman Richard Neal and Congressman Peter King, said it was time for the elected representatives at Stormont to govern. 

"We are prepared to help in a positive and constructive way to make this latest initiative a success," said the Congress statement. 

Speaking at yesterday's announcement of the resumption of talks, Mr Coveney said new thinking was needed to restart politics in Northern Ireland.

Ms Bradley said political leaders needed to stand together now more than ever, following the killing of Ms McKee during rioting in the Creggan area of Derry on 18 April.

DUP leader Arlene Foster said the talks should focus on getting the Stormont assembly reestablished, with other "difficult" issues raised by Sinn Féin dealt with in a parallel process.

Speaking on BBC radio, she said: "We have been wanting an assembly up and running since its collapse.

"We have said again this week that what we want to see happening is that the assembly is set up immediately and if there are to be other issues that we need to resolve - and Sinn Féin are very clear that they have other issues that they want resolved - then let us have a parallel talks process.

"Because what we are doing at the moment is not having a government and that is hurting ordinary people, it's hurting them in terms of hospitals and education and infrastructure and job creation.

"So why can't we just set up the assembly and have the parallel talks process - if necessary, have it in a time-limited way so that we can get government back and working in Northern Ireland." 

Additional Reporting PA