Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith has said that a revived Stormont Assembly could be part of the solution to the Brexit impasse.

Mr Smith is in Dublin for discussions with Tánaiste and Mnister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney as well as Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan and a Sinn Fein delegation led by party leader, Mary Lou Mc Donald.

He said in his view there is definitely a role for Stormont in getting a solution to the knotty issue of Brexit.

He said that since he was appointed Northern Ireland Secretary in late July he had been working closely with Simon Coveney.

Mr Smith said he accepted that getting agreement to restore power-sharing has been difficult because there are issues including language and culture that need to be resolved.

But in terms of Brexit negotiations, he said it would be very helpful if Stormont was up and running.

He refused to say whether Stormont's role in Brexit should be conducted on a majority support basis or structured to require the support of both nationalist and unionist traditions.

He said the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is leading the Brexit negotiations.

Speaking after a meeting with Mr Smith, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said that it is up to the British government to apply pressure on the DUP to move in order to re-establish the institutions in the North. 

She also said that there are solutions available but unfortunately the British government have not reached for those solutions. 

She said she emphasised to Mr Smith that the current tempo of talks cannot continue, that they need to move the DUP so that the solutions can be realised. 

Mr Smith campaigned to Remain in the Brexit referendum.

He was chief whip in Theresa May's government and tried but failed to get her deal passed in Westminster.  

Yet in late July, after ousting Mrs May, Boris Johnson appointed him Northern Ireland Secretary in his new administration.

Nine days ago Mr Smith delivered a speech, written by himself, to the British Irish Association in Oxford.  

During it he said his Northern Ireland role was giving him even more sleepless nights than his previous job as chief whip. 

He also stated, candidly, that it is not possible to be fully prepared for a no-deal in Northern Ireland or Ireland.

He wants to see the UK and the EU reach a deal on Brexit.

During that speech he floated the idea of a Northern Ireland Assembly having a role in giving consent to some of the contentious issues of the Brexit backstop discussions.  

He said this could allow solutions to emerge not from Westminster or Brussels, but from Northern Ireland.

But for Mr Smith's thesis to have any credibility, power-sharing would need to be restored and stable.

Stormont has been closed for over two and a half years.