This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 18 °C Thursday 22 August, 2019
Advertisement

White House welcomes new talks to restore Northern Ireland power-sharing executive

Talks are set to commence following the local elections in Northern Ireland next week.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney and Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley during a press conference in Stormont, Belfast yesterday
Tánaiste Simon Coveney and Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley during a press conference in Stormont, Belfast yesterday
Image: Brian Lawless via PA Images

THE WHITE HOUSE has welcomed new talks between British and Ireland over reviving Northern Ireland’s power-sharing arrangement. 

“The United States welcomes the initiative today of the British and Irish governments to convene political talks in Northern Ireland,” the White House said in a statement.

“We encourage Northern Ireland’s political leaders to return to the negotiating table to restore the region’s local government.”

The new talks were announced in a joint statement by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and British Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday. 

Karen Bradley, Northern Ireland’s secretary of state, and Tánaiste Simon Coveney met in Belfast yesterday afternoon to set out an approach. 

Talks are set to commence following the local elections in Northern Ireland next week. 

The talks come following the death of 29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee, who was killed during riots involving dissident republicans in Creggan, Co Derry the night before Good Friday.

On Wednesday, leaders from across the political divide, including DUP leader Arlene Foster and Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, sat side-by-side at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast, at McKee’s funeral.

The Trump administration has said it was “shocked and saddened” by the death of McKee. 

Cross-party talks

Speaking to reporters in Belfast yesterday afternoon, Coveney said the talks would include all of the parties in the north and not just the DUP and Sinn Féin.

He said previous talks, dominated by the two biggest parties was a “frustrating process the last time” and that the Ulster Unionist party, the SDLP and the Alliance would be central to the new round of talks.

Coveney did not speculate on a specific time frame for a deal to be made, but suggested Stormont could be back up and running “well in advance of mid-July”.

The joint-statement from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and British Prime Minister Theresa May said: 

“In coming together with other political leaders in St Anne’s Cathedral to pay tribute to Lyra McKee, we gave expression to the clear will and determination of all of the people of these islands to reject violence and to support peace and a better future for everyone in Northern Ireland.

We also heard the unmistakable message to all political leaders that people across Northern Ireland want to see a new momentum for political progress.  We agree that what is now needed is actions and not just words from all of us who are in positions of leadership.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald repeated previous comments that “credible and sustainable institutions based on equality, respect and genuine partnership government” were central to the talks. 

“These talks will be a test of whether the British government and the DUP are finally willing to resolve the issues of equality, rights and integrity in government, which caused the collapse of the power-sharing institutions two years ago,” she said. 

DUP leader Arlene Foster said her party “would not be found wanting in any talks process” but that the assembly should be restored first of all, and talks to run “parallel” to this. 

“Our preference would be for the Assembly to be restored and have the talks process in parallel,” she said. 

“Talks should respect the three stranded approach and be focused on delivering a fair and balanced deal that both unionists and nationalists can support.

“Anyone who thinks agreement can be reached through a one-sided wish-list being implemented is not routed in reality,” she added. 

With reporting by AFP and Conor McCrave

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

Read next:

COMMENTS (45)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel