Friday, 15 December, 2017

Restoring powersharing the priority as Brexit talks begin, says Irish minister

Preston Stone | 20 June, 2017, 00:09

The DUP has since acceded to the terms of the Good Friday Agreement - or the Belfast Agreement - which helped bring an end to 30 years of sectarian strife in Northern Ireland in 1998.

Arlene Foster, the head of the small Northern Irish political party in talks to support Theresa May's minority government, said on Friday she wanted a "sensible Brexit" that would work for the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Other politicians have voiced their concern as well.

Meanwhile, Chancellor Philip Hammond has been urged to publish the costs of any deals made with the DUP to prop up a Tory government.

He stressed the objectives of ensuring that Brexit does not impact negatively on the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process there, and protecting North-South trade and economic activity and the Common Travel Area.

Gerry Adams led a delegation to Government Buildings including Ms O'Neill, Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald and newly-elected Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew.

The remarks come amid mounting criticism of Mrs May's potential deal with the DUP to form a majority government.

It could "catapult Northern Ireland into a serious crisis and back onto our front pages", he wrote.

Prompted by her poor election showing, particularly among pro-EU young people who fear losses of jobs and opportunity from Brexit, some of her most senior ministers and two former Conservative prime ministers have called for a rethink.

The deadline for a Stormont deal is June 29th, with Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire warning last night that if agreement isn't reached by then, decision making will pass to others, an indication that a return to direct rule is a very real prospect.

The Northern Ireland Executive is the administrative branch of the Northern Ireland Assembly, the devolved legislature for Northern Ireland.

Speaking after a meeting with the new Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadka, Theresa May stated that any arrangement with the Northern Irish party would be "made public" so that "people can see exactly what that is based on".

But Ms Clancy pointed out that the reasons Sinn Fein withdrew from talks have yet to be addressed.

"The imposition of Brexit, against the will of the people of the North, will undermine the all-Ireland structures and rights of citizens in the North to European Union citizenship, which are guaranteed under the Good Friday Agreement".

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