Belfast Telegraph

Arlene Foster reaffirms commitment to power-sharing at party conference

Arlene Foster has reiterated her party's commitment to restoring the power-sharing Executive in her speech at the DUP's party conference.

Speaking on Saturday afternoon, Mrs Foster said "getting the Assembly and the Executive back doing what the people elected us to do" would be the best way to deliver for Northern Ireland.

"It’s popular to bash Stormont and to criticise devolution.  To say it has delivered nothing," she said.

"But the truth is that during devolved government – while far from perfect –  there were record levels of inward investment, scores of new schools built, miles of new roads constructed and hundreds of millions more spent on health.

"While we have more influence than ever before at Westminster we also want to see our local institutions functioning and delivering for the people of Northern Ireland."

Mrs Foster also reflected on her party's position as kingmakers to Theresa May's Conservative government.

"Do you remember how some said that the DUP would pursue a narrow agenda in our negotiations?," she said.

"What was secured was for everyone across Northern Ireland.

The DUP leader once again rebuff the suggestion Northern Ireland could have special status within the EU post-Brexit.

"We want a sensible Brexit.  A Brexit that works for Northern Ireland and for the United Kingdom," she said.

"However, we will not support any arrangements that create barriers to trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom or any suggestion that Northern Ireland, unlike the rest of the UK, will have to mirror European regulations.

"I have written to the heads of government of each of the EU 27 member states setting out our views and Diane [Dodds] will continue her work in Brussels in the coming days to reinforce our position."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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