Thursday 27 April 2017

Kenny and May vow co-operation on North debacle

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and UK Prime Minister Theresa May last night vowed to work closely
to resolve the crisis in the North. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and UK Prime Minister Theresa May last night vowed to work closely to resolve the crisis in the North. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and UK Prime Minister Theresa May last night vowed to work closely to resolve the crisis in the North before an election is due to be called next week.

Mr Kenny and Mrs May spoke by telephone yesterday evening as both Ireland and the UK increased efforts to prevent an Assembly election in Northern Ireland.

During the 15-minute conversation, the two leaders agreed the current situation was "very serious" and every effort should be made to reach an agreement between the parties over the ongoing 'cash-for-ash' scandal.

It was agreed that the two governments would work closely throughout the crisis and there was special emphasis placed on the role to be played by Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan and Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire.

Mrs May is due to make a state visit to Ireland in the coming weeks when she will hold her first formal talks with the Taoiseach on Brexit.

The prime minister is expected to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty by the end of March which will begin the official process of Britain leaving the EU.

However, there is growing frustration within Government over Britain's Brexit strategy, which has been kept a closely guarded secret.

EU Commissioner Phil Hogan attacked Britain's behaviour during the process on Monday saying: "Brexit is a mess and it is only getting messier."

Senior ministers are also growing impatient with the lack of information coming from the UK as the countdown to formal talks begins.

Mrs May was forced to go on a media offensive last weekend after concerns were raised in the UK about her Brexit strategy. The prime minister hinted that the UK would leave the EU single market but committed to outlining more significant plans in the coming weeks.

Government officials last night said the Taoiseach and Mrs May did discuss Brexit but not in great detail due to the situation in the North.

Irish Independent

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