SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has welcomed confirmation from the Taoiseach this morning that the Irish and British Governments will make a fresh attempt early in the New Year to restore power-sharing at Stormont. 

Leo Varadkar told of the plan when he spoke to journalists in Brussels on his way to the summit of EU leaders this morning.

He had discussed the issue during a short meeting with the British Prime Minister Theresa May last night. Stormont has been closed since the collapse of power-sharing 11 months ago. 

Mr Eastwood said it is inconceivable that Northern Ireland's devolved administration would continue to remain silent while preparations for Brexit gain momentum.