Belfast Telegraph

Theresa May tells Northern Ireland's politicians to get back to work in Belfast address

'It has to come from within,' says PM

By Gareth Cross

Prime Minister Theresa May has told Northern Ireland's political parties to get back around the table and resume talks aimed at restoring power sharing at Stormont.

She made the comments during a wide-ranging speech at Belfast's Waterfront Hall on Friday.

It was the last engagement on a two-day trip to Northern Ireland where the Prime Minister visited the Irish border in Co Fermanagh and met with political and business leaders.

Among those in the audience was DUP leader Arlene Foster and Nigel Dodds.

In her speech Mrs May bemoaned the lack of a power-sharing Executive and urged political parties to resume talks as soon as possible.

"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," the Prime Minister said.

"I want to see the Assembly and Executive back up and running, taking decisions on behalf of all the people of Northern Ireland. They deserve no less.

"We continue to do all we can to see the re-establishment of devolution and all the institutions of the Belfast Agreement."

The Prime Minister said that intervention from her Government would not be enough to restore the institutions and that any agreement "has to come from within".

"A first step has to be the resumption of political dialogue aimed at finding a solution, and that should begin as soon as possible," Mrs May said.

"Until then, the UK Government will of course fulfil our responsibility to ensure good governance and stability in Northern Ireland.

"But interventions from Westminster are no substitute for decisions taken here."

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