Saturday 15 December 2018

'She is smart' - Bradley gets backing after North confusion

Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA
Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA
John Downing

John Downing

The Government has said Karen Bradley is a smart and experienced politician - after she admitted she initially did not understand Northern Ireland politics when she took on her Cabinet brief.

The British government's Northern Ireland Secretary revealed when appointed earlier this year that she did not realise nationalists did not vote for unionist parties or vice-versa in elections.

Ms Bradley also acknowledged that she did not fathom some of the deep-rooted issues that define Northern Irish politics when she was first appointed to her position.

Ms Bradley will be working closely with Dublin, as co-guarantors of the peace process, to kick-start power-sharing talks.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said: "She's someone who has really made an effort to understand Northern Ireland.

"She didn't have a lot of experience of Northern Ireland before being appointed there but she's an experienced, very smart politician and I'm going to work closely with her to help the parties in Northern Ireland to work with each other in a way that's good for people in Northern Ireland.

"Whether you're a unionist or a nationalist, having no devolved government structures, having no capacity to make political decisions in Northern Ireland is bad for everybody, both communities.

"Karen Bradley recognises that, so do I."

Sinn Féin said her comments were a reminder of where the country is on the British government's priority list, but Prime Minister Theresa May retains confidence in her.

Irish Independent

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