Thursday 26 April 2018

Snap election shows just how little Northern Ireland counts

Theresa May's surprise UK election caught everyone out, not least Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

British Prime Minister Theresa May Photo: Getty Images
British Prime Minister Theresa May Photo: Getty Images

Willie O'Dea

Last Tuesday's surprise election announcement by Theresa May not only caught the cognoscenti off guard, it also proved just how far down her political agenda Northern Ireland sits.

Despite extending to June 29 the deadline for talks on forming a power-sharing Stormont executive, the UK prime minister has told Northern Ireland that their votes are nowhere near as important to her as the ones in merry olde EU-leaving England.

Looking dispassionately at the political theatre of May's bombshell, it is hard not to be in awe of how the news was kept so quiet. So quiet that journalists did not pick up on what was happening until minutes before she went out on to the steps of Number 10.

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