Theresa May has failed to rally Northern Ireland support behind her quest for a Brexit deal, as nationalist and unionist parties further entrenched their positions for and against the backstop as she ended a two-day visit to Belfast. The Democratic Unionist party (DUP) insisted on Wednesday that the prime minister should replace the backstop a day after May appeared to soften the government’s stance on the insurance provision to protect against a hard border. Westminster had voted to leave the European Union with “alternative arrangements” for the Irish border, Arlene Foster, the DUP leader, said after meeting May at Stormont. “It is welcome that the prime inister is travelling to Brussels to seek changes but she must stand strong and by the commitments she made to the House of Commons. That is her mandate and that is what I expect. The backstop would undermine the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom ... it is the main problem.” The … [Read more...] about Brexit: May departs Northern Ireland no closer to backstop deal
Northern ireland in brexit
To sense true yearning for a united Ireland in Dublin you used to have to run your fingers over words written long ago and etched in cold, grey stone. “No man has a right to fix the boundary to the march of a nation. No man has a right to say to his country: ‘Thus far shalt thou go and no further’.” So declared Charles Stewart Parnell in 1885 in an exhortation engraved in his granite monument on O’Connell Street. Quotes pining for nationhood from other nationalist leaders adorn similar monuments around the city. Most predate Ireland’s partition in 1922 but they resonated as aspirations to unite the 26-county south with the six counties of Northern Ireland – aspirations which southerners, as decades passed, espoused with dwindling conviction. There were other priorities: emigration, jobs, the economy, the health service. And in any case a united Ireland was never going to happen. Until it was. These days you open a newspaper, turn on the … [Read more...] about Talk of a united Ireland is rife. But is it a fantasy?
Sinn Féin has refused to nominate a new deputy first minister in Northern Ireland, triggering the collapse of the power-sharing government and fresh elections. Theresa May earlier held talks with the first minister, Arlene Foster, and Martin McGuinness, who resigned as deputy first minister last week, in a late effort to save the Stormont government, stressing that it had a role to play in Brexit negotiations. May’s spokeswoman said: “She spoke to both Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness to encourage them to use what time was left today to try to find a resolution to the situation in Northern Ireland, outlining the importance of finding a way forward – particularly in the context of wanting to make sure that Northern Ireland has a voice in the UK’s exit from the European Union as we approach the critical period before triggering article 50.” A short time later, Foster said at Stormont: “Northern Ireland does not need an election, it needs stable … [Read more...] about Sinn Féin refusal to replace McGuinness set to trigger Northern Ireland elections
The Democratic Unionist party’s leader, Arlene Foster, has signalled it is ready to do a Brexit deal, indicating for the first time a willingness to accept a bespoke solution for Northern Ireland. She was speaking just hours before she held an “unplanned” meeting with the Irish taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, amid signs of a Brexit thaw between Belfast and Dublin. In a break with previous rhetoric where she has strongly opposed treating the region differently to the rest of the UK, Foster said the final deal would have to recognise Northern Ireland’s unique historical and geographical position and the fact it will be the UK’s only land border with the EU. Asked by reporters if it was possible to see Northern Ireland-only solutions that would not affect the constitutional link with Great Britain, she replied: “Well I hope so.” That, combined with other comments she made before a dinner with business executives in Dublin, will be seen as pushing the … [Read more...] about Arlene Foster signals DUP shift on Northern Ireland border issue
Control and consent are intimately related. Where consent exists and is freely given, statements of control are unnecessary. The government is determined to deliver on Vote Leave’s promise to “take back control” – to assert sovereignty on behalf of leave voters. But the complicated consent structures of the UK’s most complicated corner, Northern Ireland, are once again getting in the way. On the evidence of the prime minister’s letter to Donald Tusk on Monday, the government is not minded to let that stop them. This perhaps should not come as a surprise. In one of his blogposts railing against Theresa May’s approach to Brexit negotiations, Dominic Cummings said the last administration had “aided and abetted bullshit invented by Irish nationalists and remain campaigners that the Belfast agreement prevents reasonable customs checks on trade between Northern Ireland and the Republic. It does no such thing.” The senior Brexit strategist … [Read more...] about Boris Johnson is playing politics with Northern Ireland’s ‘delicate balance’