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DUP conference live: Arlene Foster snubs all-island Brexit forum as she sets out strategy for Northern Ireland deal

First Minister Arlene Foster has insisted she will not join the Irish Government's Brexit forum at any point in the future.

But it has also emerged the DUP leader intends to meet Taoiseach Enda Kenny for talks on the UK withdrawal from the European Union in the next few weeks.

But, addressing her party's annual conference on Saturday, Mrs Foster set out her strategy for obtaining the best possible deal for Northern Ireland in Brexit negotiations.

The DUP leader argues her party being in control of the Agriculture, Education and the Economy Ministries, will give it a pivotal role in the forthcoming talks.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph ahead of the gathering, she said it was "nonsense" to suggest she could not represent Northern Ireland, where a majority (56%) voted to remain in the EU.

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"This was a UK-wide, one nation vote. Areas in the east of the province voted to leave - where does that sub-division stop?"

Mrs Foster said taking part in the Dublin-lead forum would only give others the opportunity to make clear they did not agree with the Referendum result.

"To be a lone voice amongst a whole lot of remoaners? No thank you - I have better things to do with my time," she said.

"It will be full of people who quite frankly haven't accepted the referendum result going down to talk about how dreadful it is. Mark my words, that's exactly what will happen at the grandstanding forum that will come about. I'm not going to be a part of that. I am in this to do real business and to have outcomes not to sit around talking about how dreadful it is."

Her keynote speech also set out the next steps in implementing the DUP's 'five-point plan', which she devised as the centrepiece of its election campaign in May.

Belfast Telegraph

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