'Not appropriate' - Arlene Foster criticises Leo Varadkar's suggestion to break Stormont deadlock
Democratic Unionist leader Arlene Foster has branded as inappropriate a suggestion from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that the Irish and UK governments could table joint proposals as a way to break the Stormont deadlock.
Mrs Foster said it was not for the leader of the Irish Republic to suggest the next steps in efforts to restore powersharing.
"In keeping with the principle of consent and the three-stranded approach it is not appropriate for the Irish Prime Minister to outline future political steps relating to Northern Ireland and a resumption of talks," she said.
"Whilst we will work with the Irish government on appropriate issues, the political process is an internal matter and should be taken forward by Her Majesty's Government."
Mrs Foster has welcomed comments from Mr Varadkar in which he acknowledged some of his government's comments on Brexit may have angered unionists.
Mr Varadkar told an event in Washington DC on Tuesday that he had no "hidden agenda".
"I recognise and welcome the acknowledgement that many unionists have felt some actions and statements from the Irish government have not been helpful," said Mrs Foster.
"I recognise too the concerns which exist, particularly within the Republic of Ireland, about Brexit. It is vital however that we work together to secure the best possible outcome for all our citizens.
"In the past I and other DUP ministers did build up good and productive relationships with our counterparts in the Republic which was to the benefit of both countries. I hope the Taoiseach's comments can represent a return to that more positive working relationship."