Friday 21 September 2018

Varadkar opposes the introduction of direct-rule in Northern Ireland

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Brian Lawless/PA)
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (Brian Lawless/PA)

Shona Murray and Ralph Riegel

Leo Varadkar has opposed the introduction of direct-rule in Northern Ireland as talks resumed today.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Simon Coveney met new Sinn Féin president, Mary Lou McDonald, and her deputy, Michelle O’Neill, at Government Buildings tonight.

They spoke for around 90 minutes and agreed on their united commitment to the Good Friday Agreement.

All sides also reiterated their stated positions that any move towards direct rule from Westminster would be highly regressive and something that Dublin could not countenance.

Mr Varadkar spoke to British Prime Minister Theresa May on the phone following the meeting. He reiterated Dublin’s “firm position” that the Good Friday Agreement must be implemented in full, and that the Irish Government does not want to see the introduction of direct rule in Northern Ireland.

Earlier Mr Coveney had warned that the re-imposition of direct rule would “rip the heart” from the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr Coveney is travelling to New York and Washington on Tuesday afternoon for a series of meetings with the Trump administration.

He is due to give an address at Columbia University on Brexit and give the keynote speech on the Good Friday Agreement at special event in New York entitled Ireland’s ‘20 Years of Peace’.

While in New York, Simon Coveney will also lobby several UN groups on Ireland’s campaign to secure a temporary seat on the UN’s most powerful committee - the UN Security Council.

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