Monday 23 October 2017

No direct rule without Irish role, says Coveney

Anti-Brexit activist Drew Galdron, who is also an impersonator of British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, takes part in a demonstration against the UK’s decision to leave the EU in front of the European institutions in Brussels. Picture: AFP
Anti-Brexit activist Drew Galdron, who is also an impersonator of British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, takes part in a demonstration against the UK’s decision to leave the EU in front of the European institutions in Brussels. Picture: AFP

Michael McHugh

Direct rule from London cannot be imposed in Northern Ireland without Irish Government input, Simon Coveney has insisted.

The Foreign Affairs Minister was in Belfast to try to kick-start power sharing at Stormont and said all parties wanted to see progress made.

Mr Coveney said that talks were at a high-stakes stage and could not continue for many more weeks.

He said: "The status quo is not sustainable in Northern Ireland."

Ministers have not sat at Stormont for seven months after the late Martin McGuinness resigned as deputy first minister in a row over the DUP's handling of a botched green energy scheme.

Since then, a dispute over the status of the Irish language has been among the issues dividing the parties.

Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire has warned he may have to legislate for a Stormont budget if the deadlock continues.

Mr Coveney said there were still grounds for optimism and direct rule should still be avoided.

"There can be no British-only direct rule. That is the Irish Government's position," he said.

"It is not good for Northern Ireland, it is not good from the point of view of the Government that I am a part of, it is not good from the point of view of the government in London, everybody loses in that scenario."

Irish Independent

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