STAND DUP Crunch talks in Northern Ireland in bid to form new government after historic Sinn Fein victory
In the wake of Sinn Fein’s historic election victory, STORMONT party leaders will meet Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis tomorrow.
Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald has encouraged DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson to serve as Deputy First Minister in the Executive.
In addition, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis has urged Donaldson to get the ball rolling on the restoration of government in the province.
Sinn Fein finished with 27 seats, one more than the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which slipped from 28 to 25 seats.
The Alliance Party, which represents the middle of the political spectrum, experienced a rise in support, finishing as the third-largest party at Stormont with 17 seats.
While the Ulster Unionists received nine seats and the SDLP received eight, four additional candidates were chosen.
Donaldson, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, has demanded action on the Northern Ireland Protocol before the party can re-enter the government.
“It is the responsibility of the United Kingdom Government to negotiate; Jeffrey and the DUP, as well as the other parties in Stormont, should come together and bring Stormont back to deliver on the internal issues of Northern Ireland,” said NI Secretary Lewis.
“We do believe that a deal with the EU is the best approach, and we have always been focused on that,” he said on Sky News.
This is why we haven’t invoked Article 16 yet, but let’s be clear: the protocol that was intended to safeguard the Good Friday Agreement is also the one that is placing the biggest strain on it at the moment.”
“That can’t go on. We need to find a solution.”
“It’s very vital that the DUP, who has emerged as the second-largest party, exhibit respect and inclusivity by consenting to serve in that joining position with a republican First Minister,” said Sinn Fein’s Mary Lou McDonald.
It sends a very obvious message to everyone that we are devoted to equality and sharing power, parity of esteem…not just verbally but in practice as well as in words.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said his government will “do everything we can” to help the parties “create and operate an executive”.
M. Coveney said the EU “has shown a lot of flexibility over the last year to try to find a foundation for agreement” on the protocol.
“I’ve been chatting to Liz Truss, their primary negotiator on the British side, and Maros Sefcovic, their major negotiator on the EU side,” he told RTE Radio.
We don’t need a collapse of the institutions in Northern Ireland, nor the tension and divisiveness that would follow.
“I believe we all have a responsibility to respect the results of the election and work with the parties to restore a functioning executive and parliament.
“We don’t need unilateral threats or legislation in Westminster.
In order to resolve the protocol difficulties without demolishing an international treaty or international law, we need partnership and serious negotiations.
Mary Lou says the idea of the first nationalist First Minister at Stormont is “nearly emotional”.
McDonald said the event was “not really about Sinn Fein”.
“The northern state was established to provide a constant inherent unionist majority to ensure that nobody like Michelle O’Neill would ever be the first minister,” she told RTE Radio.
“And that glass ceiling was shattered over the weekend.”
“We have… Because they have lived through the worst of times, elderly nationalists in the north have an almost emotional reaction.
“But I think it should be honored as a moment of equality for everyone, north, and south.
“A significant expression of how far we’ve gone is that the highest position in the land is now beyond anyone’s reach, prerogative, or preservation. And I think that’s fantastic.”