Tuesday 18 September 2018

Theresa May speaks of ‘frustration and regret’ over Northern Ireland political stalemate

The British Prime Minister said interventions from Westminster were no substitute for the restoration of the power-sharing administration at Stormont.

Theresa May on a visit to Belfast (Brian Lawless/PA)
Theresa May on a visit to Belfast (Brian Lawless/PA)

David Hughes

Theresa May said the people of Northern Ireland deserve the restoration of devolved government as she expressed frustration about the lack of progress.

The British Prime Minister used a speech in Belfast to insist that the her Government was doing all it could to restore a power-sharing administration at Stormont.

She said the “resumption of political dialogue” should happen as soon as possible.

Mrs May said: “It is a matter of frustration and regret that, after enjoying the longest period of unbroken devolved government since the 1960s, Northern Ireland has now been without a fully functioning Executive for over 18 months.”

She added: “I want to see the Assembly and the Executive back, taking decisions on behalf of all of the people of Northern Ireland.

“They deserve no less.”

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Prime Minister Theresa May gives a speech at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast (Charles McQuillan/PA)

During her two-day visit to Northern Ireland, Mrs May held talks with her Westminster confidence and supply partners, the DUP, an SDLP delegation and representatives from Sinn Fein, the Ulster Unionists and the Alliance Party.

Mrs May said: “We continue to do all we can to see the re-establishment of devolution and all of the institutions of the Belfast Agreement.

“But an agreement cannot be imposed. That needs to come from within Northern Ireland.

“A first step has to be the resumption of political dialogue aimed at finding a solution and that should begin as soon as possible.”

She said that “interventions from Westminster are no substitute for decisions taken here”.

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