Simon Coveney: NI powersharing deal should involve all parties

Firefighters work on shoring up Grenfell Tower after last week’s devastating blaze. The prime minister admitted yesterday that the response to the disaster had been inadequate

The talks take place in the context of the ongoing negotiations between Prime Minister Theresa May and the DUP to strike a parliamentary deal to support her minority Government.

The minister said it was important that any deal involved all five Stormont parties, and not just the DUP and Sinn Fein.

Mr Varadkar said he was reassured by the Prime Minister's commitment to make public the terms of any agreement.

British Prime Minster Theresa May took a big gamble by calling for snap elections in the hope that she will boost her political fortunes and increase the majority seats of the Conservative Party on the eve of the Brexit talks with the EU.

"If there is the expected positive outcome, it will be at least the start of next week before anything is signed off", a DUP source said.

The comments were seen as a coded reference to the party's opposition to scrapping the "triple lock" on pensions and means testing the winter fuel allowance - both of which were in the Conservative manifesto.

The parties have until 29 June to reach agreement and have been warned that direct rule could follow if they can't. It is my firm belief that with goodwill on both sides a resolution can be reached which builds on the progress made in the last round of discussions. He said that there needed to be a new urgency to re-establishing Stormont as the Brexit negotiation began.

However, Minister Coveney has said that as Ireland is one of the 27 European Union member states, "we will be negotiating from a position of strength".

Addressing the Communist Party of Britain's executive committee, he declared that the DUP priority would be to gain more public money and reduce corporation tax on business profits to serve its own narrow interests in northern Ireland.

While Sinn Féin will not be best pleased that the DUP will have such a pivotal role in facilitating the Brexit process, given that the majority of voters in Northern Ireland voted to remain in the European Union in last year's referendum, their influence on the British government may help make it a softer exit, which would suit the Republic of Ireland better. "We have a system in this country, an electoral system, victor takes all".

"We want to ensure that as much as possible, while there many be a political border between our two countries, there should not be an economic border, and that any border that does exist should be invisible".

Appearing before reporters without Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, Mrs O'Neill said her party wanted to find a deal and make the institutions work but people who voted for her party in the elections had not supported a return to the status quo.

"In the north of Ireland, Sinn Fein is enmeshed in institutional politics and their tie-up with EU funding, while in the south it wants to appeal to working class people campaigning against the austerity and privatisation policies promoted by pro-EU Dublin governments, the European Commission and the European Central Bank", he explained.

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