A Sinn Féin minister at Stormont is seeking legal advice after the DUP forced a north-south minsterial meeting on languages to be cancelled by refusing to take part.

It was due to take place this morning, but DUP junior minister Gary Middleton refused to take part.

Under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, which established the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC), meetings can only proceed if a nationalist and unionist minister from Stormont are involved.

Minister of State Jack Chambers and Deirdre Hargey, Communities Minister at Stormont, were logged on for the virtual meeting, but could not proceed as the DUP participant was not involved.

It is the second NSMC meeting to be cancelled this week after the Irish Government agreed to suspend a meeting scheduled to take place on Wednesday when Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots of the DUP made it known in advance that he would not attend.

No advance notice was given this morning, but DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson has made it clear that his party is boycotting north-south meetings as part of its protest against the Northern Ireland Protocol.

In a statement, Deirdre Hargey said she considers the action a breach of the Ministerial Code, which requires ministers to participate in NSMC meetings.

"Therefore I am seeking legal advice on challenging the DUP inaction through the courts," she added.

"We must be clear that when the political institutions were restored through the New Decade, New Approach agreement last January, it was all of the institutions, not some.

"The DUP cannot cherrypick and through inaction and obstruction hinder Government business on behalf of the public we all serve and represent."

SDLP deputy leader and Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon, who had been due to take part in the suspended meeting on Wednesday, has called on the Irish and British governments to intervene in their capacity as joint guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement.

In a letter to Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and Northern Secretary Brandow Lewis, she said the two governments "have an obligation to fortify the institutions and prevent the kind of instability that could lead to their collapse".

In a statement, DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson insisted the existence of the Northern Ireland Protocol is the problem and said nationalist ministers need to recognise that the Irish Sea Border is contrary to the Good Friday Agreement.

"Our ministers have put a stop to the north-south structures because we need to bring the Irish Sea Border to a head," he said.

"We cannot have a border between us and Great Britain but continue with north-south structures as though there was no problem."

On Sinn Féin's move to seek legal advice, he said: "It is hypocrisy for Sinn Féin to complain given they blocked north-south meetings for three years when they collapsed devolution."