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Dublin: 5 °C Wednesday 21 November, 2018

Coveney says that government has to 'repair' relationship with DUP

Relations between Dublin and the North’s largest party have been strained since contentious Brexit talks a week ago.

Image: Eamonn Farrell/

FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER and Tánaiste Simon Coveney says that the government needs to “repair” its relationship with the DUP.

Relations between Dublin and the North’s largest party have been strained since contentious Brexit talks a week ago. The rancour led to DUP MP Sammy Wilson referring to Coveney and Varadkar as “cynical, aggressive and green”.

A deal on the border post-Brexit had appeared to be reached last Monday but this was scuppered at the last-minute by the concerns of the unionist party. That led to a week of tense talks amid an undercurrent of disagreements between the Taoiseach and the DUP.

Varadkar went on to say that the DUP does not speak for everyone in Northern Ireland.

However, speaking to RTÉ’s The Week In Politics today, Coveney said that the relationship must be mended.

“Because of the tension around trying to get the deal we felt was needed for everyone on this island, yes, of course there is repair work to do.

“I hope to be at the forefront in being involved in that and am already seeking a meeting with the DUP before the end of the year.

“If not, then I assume it will be early in the new year.”

Coveney said that the lack of a Stormont Assembly was a symptom of the UK’s decision to leave the EU and said that all sides may have to revisit the Good Friday Agreement to see what happens next in Northern Ireland. The assembly has been empty since elections in March.

“There is the prospect of a whole series of choices – from another election, to the triggering of Intergovernmental Conferences to make decisions on Northern Ireland.

“That is not where we want to be. That will cause tension. It will be a very frosty environment to make decisions in, so we all have a responsibility to find a way forward.”

Read: UK bookshop selling tea towels saying ‘F*** the DUP’

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