Belfast Telegraph

Taoiseach Varadkar tells Downing Street Ireland will not support direct rule

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has told Prime Minister Theresa May Ireland will not support direct rule.

The Taoiseach reiterated his government's position during a phone call with Downing Street on Monday evening.

A spokesperson for the Department of Taoiseach said he had made it clear "the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent agreements must be implemented in full.

"In this context the Taoiseach and Tanaiste re-iterated that the Irish Government does not want to see the introduction of direct rule in Northern Ireland," a spokesperson for the Department of Taoiseach said.

In the conversation the Taoiseach emphasised Ireland's role as co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement and a commitment to ensuring the effective operation of all its institutions.

Mr Varadkar and Tanaiste (deputy prime minister) Simon Coveney had earlier met with Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald and the party's leader in Northern Ireland Michelle O'Neill.

In its account, a spokesperson for No 10 said Prime Minister May spoke to the Taoiseach about "the recent phase of political talks in Northern Ireland and of their disappointment that an agreement had not yet been reached to restore the Executive".

"Both leaders recognised the progress and serious engagement made by the parties," the spokesperson said.

"The Prime Minister said she believed there was scope for agreement and reiterated the UK Government's priority was still to get devolution up and running again in Northern Ireland.

"They agreed to continue to stay in close contact as the parties reflect on the best way forward to re-establish devolved Government in Northern Ireland."

Following its meeting with the Taoiseach, Sinn Fein has warned direct rule is not an option in Northern Ireland, with the party's leader Mary Lou McDonald saying "direct rule is not the answer when institutions falter".

DUP leader Arlene Foster called upon the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Karen Bradley to set a budget and "take key decisions impacting on our schools, infrastructure and hospitals".

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph