Sinn Féin has called on Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and British Prime Minister Theresa May to become directly involved in talks to save power-sharing in Northern Ireland.

It said the leaders had to engage as a "matter of urgency" to inject the "step change" needed to secure an agreement, after yesterday’s deadline for agreement came and went.

Accusing the Democratic Unionists of refusing to budge on central issues, Sinn Féin negotiator John O'Dowd said the two governments had to press the main unionist party to give ground.

However, the DUP has ridiculed Sinn Féin's call for intervention, insisting the republicans "don't need anyone to hold their hands".

Talks between Sinn Féin and the DUP in Stormont have ended for the night and will resume tomorrow morning.

Earlier today, Mr O'Dowd claimed the DUP had become "emboldened" by its parliamentary deal with the Conservative Party at Westminster and had entrenched its stance at Stormont as a result.

"After weeks of negotiations the DUP have still not agreed to the rights-based society that we require," he said.

Mr O'Dowd said the main sticking points were related to his party's demands for an Irish Language Act, a Northern Ireland specific Bill of Rights and legalisation of same sex-marriage in the region.

"The DUP's relationship with the Tory government has emboldened them, it has entrenched their positions in regards all those measures that need to be resolved," he said.

He added: "The British government need to remove their partisan approach and set aside their relationship with the DUP if these talks are to succeed."

Mr O'Dowd suggested any progress that had been made had been "snail" like.

He said: "We will stay here as long as there is a glimmer of hope that there will be success in these talks, but we are realists and we are experienced negotiators and we know there needs to be a step change in these talks - hence the reason we are calling on the Taoiseach and the British Prime Minister to become directly involved.

"The public patience and our patience cannot go on forever, there needs to be a step change, there needs to be focus brought to these engagements."

After further negotiations at Stormont Castle today, DUP negotiator Edwin Poots Poots said: "I think Sinn Féin can do the business very quickly, they know what's required of them - they don't need anybody to hold their hands.

"They just need to sit upstairs, make the decisions that need to be made and come and tell us of those decisions so we can get on with the business."

The UK government has extended the talks process until Monday, despite Stormont parties missing yesterday's statutory deadline.

Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire will make a statement to the House of Commons on Monday outlining the government's intentions going forward.

In the absence of agreement, the options open to Mr Brokenshire include setting another deadline for the talks process, calling a second snap Assembly election or reimposing some form of direct rule from London.

If a deal was to materialise over the weekend, the government could pass legislation to retrospectively change yesterday’s missed deadline to enable a new executive to be formed without recourse to another election.

The institutions imploded in January when DUP leader Arlene Foster was forced from office after Sinn Féin's then deputy first minister, the late Martin McGuinness, quit.

Mr McGuinness quit in protest at the DUP's handling of the renewable heat incentive, a scheme that left the administration facing a £490m overspend.

His move triggered a snap Assembly election in March.