Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said he believes party leaders in Northern Ireland want to find a way to accommodate each other and put a platform in place to re-establish an executive.

Mr Coveney said he is travelling to Belfast tonight and would be there for the week.

Speaking in Cork, where he is attending the Ocean Wealth Summit, Mr Coveney said he expects the week to be intense as they are moving from a working group format where "we have made some progress" to now having direct political discussion.

He hopes this can be successful over the next two weeks to try and put a basis in place for the re-establishment of devolved government in NI.

He said this is what the people of Northern Ireland deserve after two-and-a-half years of no government.

Former US Secretary of State John Kerry has said he is very hopeful that the executive could be re-established.

Speaking at the same event in Cork, Mr Kerry said it is very important that governance is restored in the North.

"The Stormont agreement is I think an extraordinary accomplishment - it offers the best road forward to be able to resolve very complicated, deeply felt differences that have existed for a long time.

"For 20 plus years now, we have been able to begin to move away from that hopefully and I wish the Tánaiste great success. I think it is a very important meeting and I congratulate him for being willing to go and have those conversations - they are critical."