Foster: snap Dáil election would rule out Stormont deal by Christmas

DUP leader accuses Coveney of exploiting Brexit to press for united Ireland

Arlene Foster: “This party will conclude a balanced deal but we will not be party to a one-sided arrangement that rewards intransigent behaviour.”

Arlene Foster: “This party will conclude a balanced deal but we will not be party to a one-sided arrangement that rewards intransigent behaviour.”

 

DUP leader Arlene Foster has warned a snap general election in the Republic would rule out the prospect of a pre-Christmas deal with Sinn Féin to restore the Northern Executive.

Ms Foster also accused the Irish Government and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney in particular of exploiting the Brexit negotiations to push an united Ireland agenda.

“Certainly in respect of the Stormont talks, I would assume that if an election was called in the Republic of Ireland, that Sinn Féin’s focus would be entirely then on Dublin and the elections down there. So, I think it would have a huge impact on whether we were able to bring around devolution this year to Northern Ireland.

“As I understand it the election would have to take place before Christmas, so that means that December would really be out in terms of the talks. But we are not there yet. Let’s wait and see what happens in Dublin over the coming days,” she told the BBC on Friday.

December had been earmarked as a month in which there was some possibility outstanding difficulties over issues such as the Irish language, same-sex marriage and the sustainability of Stormont might be resolved. The DUP conference is on Saturday.

Negotiations

“The Irish Government are actually using the negotiations in Europe to, if you like, put forward their ideas of what they believe the island of Ireland should look like in the future,” Ms Foster said.

“We heard from the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Ireland just yesterday talking about his aspiration for a united Ireland. Now he is, of course, entitled to have that aspiration, but he should not be using the European Union negotiations to talk about those issues. What he should be talking about are trading relationships moving forward.”