Tuesday 12 December 2017

EU states 'constantly asking' about failure in the North

DCU talk: Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
DCU talk: Charlie Flanagan. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

The delay in restoring power- sharing in Northern Ireland is now being frequently raised by other European countries.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan has said his counterparts from other EU states are repeatedly asking why there is a difficulty in forming an executive, and who now speaks for Northern Ireland.

Talks between Sinn Féin and the DUP have so far failed to broker an agreement and form a power-sharing executive, seven weeks after Assembly elections.

The deadline to reach an agreement has been extended to the end of June, allowing for the UK general election called this week by Prime Minister Theresa May, the BBC has reported.

Mr Flanagan told a Brexit conference at Dublin City University the snap election impacts on the talks process as it shifts the mindset of the parties into campaign mode.

But he said there was still an acute need for the parties to reach a deal. The minister added he was getting questions from his counterparts in other European countries concerning the North, and its priorities in the Brexit debate.

"In every Foreign Affairs Council meeting...people are asking me what's the situation in Northern Ireland? 'The elections are over since March 2. Why is there a difficulty with forming an executive?'," he said.

Irish Independent

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