CM – Early elections after Poots’ resignation could be held as a « referendum » on protocol – Coveney


DUP MP Sammy Wilson said that any intervention by the UK government in Northern Ireland policy in Scotland or Wales would not be tolerated, saying « this is not a basis for decentralization ». Video: PA media

Edwin Poots, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), leaves the party headquarters in Belfast on Thursday. Photo: Paul Faith / AFP via Getty Images

Foreign Minister Simon Coveney has warned that early elections could be held as a “referendum” in the north because of the chaos in the Democratic Unionist Party. to the Northern Ireland Protocol.

He warned of the tensions and difficulties surrounding the protocol and the aftermath of Brexit that still linger in the north and said the summer could be very tense at the start of the marching season.

« We all have a duty to relieve this tension, respond to real concerns, show flexibility and pragmatism in the implementation of the protocol.

â € œThe EU understands this. The EU and the UK Government have a duty to find a way forward on these issues and the Irish Government is very involved in doing so.

“The idea that we are in the middle of it in the short term with an election that would in some way be a referendum on protocol and some of the problems of division that we have seen means that the elections would be on polarization and division rather than focusing on policy change and governance to solve Northern Ireland’s problems, â ???? Mr. Coveney told RTÃ ?? s Morning Ireland.

He spoke after Edwin Poots resigned as leader of the DUP after just three weeks after facing an internal revolt over Irish language legislation would have. Westminster has announced that it will legislate on the Irish language in the north by October if Stormont does not do so beforehand.

Taoiseach Miche¡l Martin said he does not believe the crisis caused by the sudden resignation of Mr Poots will lead to elections in Northern Ireland.

« In my opinion, this is not what Northern Ireland is asking as we are in the middle of a pandemic and healthcare is really needed in Northern Ireland, » he said.

â ?? It is very important that we all work together on the island to maintain stability and to stay focused on what is important to the people [with] calm heads.  »

He added: « The government will work with all parties and with the UK Government to protect the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement [Belfast] and work towards the continuation of the Assembly and the Executive. »

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said there was a « deep concern ». among trade unionists that things are “out of control”.

“As I was told by a very senior person [in the north], there is a deep-seated concern within the unions that things are getting out of control on their part, that you have no friends in Westminster you don’t have too many friends down here, you have no friends in America, how you see that politics is not working and you are behind, « ? he said.

Mr Martin expressed his confidence that the Irish language legislation that sparked the leadership crisis would be put in place. He said the law was agreed by all parties and the difficulties in its implementation.

Mr Coveney said North Secretary Brandon Lewis « did the right thing » in guaranteeing that Irish language legislation would be enforced by Westminster if not passed in Stormont as agreed in the New Decade New Approach Deal, restore power-sharing.

The UK government has confirmed that if the Stormont institutions do not do so by October, it will legislate for the Irish language at Westminster. Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said the commitment made by Mr Lewis was unaffected by Mr Poot’s resignation as DUP leader Thursday. When asked if the Prime Minister was concerned that the unrest at the top of the DUP could lead to the collapse of institutions in Northern Ireland, the spokesman reiterated the UK government’s commitment to a strong decentralized administration in Stormont.

« It is obvious that the leadership of the DUP is a matter for the DUP, but as always the Northern Ireland Office and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland will continue to work closely together to form the executive, » he said.

A former DUP MP and special adviser to Arlene Foster accused Mr. Poots of « monumental mistakes ».

She told BBC NI The View: « Edwin was clearly very, very interested in the leadership to assume there were many in the party who were dissatisfied with the way it was done.

â € œHowever, in the past two weeks we havenâ € ™ t seen that â ???? for example regarding North-South relations, the protocol and of course what happened in the last 24 hours.

She added: “What happened in the last 24 hours, last night and seem to be until today To have been monumental mistakes. ”

Mr. Poots resigned as DUP chief Thursday evening after losing his party’s support less than five weeks after being elected to succeed Ms. Foster.

In a statement Mr Poots said he had asked the party leader « to initiate an electoral process within the party to allow for the election of a new leader for the Democratic Unionist Party ». Mr Poots will remain in office until a successor is elected.

It is not clear what the consequences could be for Paul Givan, his close ally whom he appointed Northern Ireland’s first minister on Thursday afternoon.

Mr Poots faced an internal revolt after the UK government agreed to legislate on the Irish language.

Several senior DUP members had asked Mr Poots to withhold Mr Givan’s appointment as First Minister until he clarified the basis of his agreement with Westminster. However, he had proceeded with the nomination of Mr. Givan on Thursday.

At a subsequent meeting, at least 20 members of the party assembly voted against the nomination. It is understood that Mr Poots and Mr Givan were absent from the vote as they had already gone to the Assembly Chamber for the nomination process.

The leader of The Sinn Féin in Northern Ireland and Deputy First Minister Michelle Oâ ???? Neill has urged the DUP to band together. to ensure effective governance at Stormont. On Friday, she said her government partners were at a crossroads. and was faced with the choice of continuing to be an “objector”. or join the other four managing parties in providing a « modern and progressive » one. Agenda.

Speaking to the media in Coalisland, County Tyrone, she said she has not spoken to either Mr Givan or the outgoing DUP leader since his dramatic resignation on Thursday evening. « I think the problems for the DUP are for the DUP, but as far as I’m concerned, the implications for day-to-day governance. » Miss Oâ € ”said Neill. ??? I have reservations about that. So I hope they get to the point where they can solve their internal problems and we can get back to basics and look at good power sharing and public service delivery.

She said the DUP was at a crossroads and had a choice to make. “The choice is to work with the rest of us to achieve power-sharing, grant rights, or continue to oppose those very rights that are apparently the ousting of Arlene Foster for gay conversion therapy or Edwin Poots yesterday for the Have seen language rights a ???? She added.

She described the past few days as « stormy » but added that she was committed to sharing power and working with other parties.

When asked about the prospect of an early general election, Ms. Oâ ?? ?? Neill: « It’s hard to say what’s going to happen next within the DUP, I hope » We can keep sharing power. If we do well and well by the end of the mandate, if an election has to take place beforehand, then we will fight that election.

SDLP Vice-Chair Nichola Mallon expressed concern that the UK government is keeping its word in passing stalled laws and that the executive may collapse. – Additional reporting PA

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