Villiers to meet Irish Ministers over Stormont crisis

DUP wants Sinn Féin out of Executive due to alleged IRA involvement in McGuigan killing

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers will meet Government Ministers in Dublin next week to determine if the collapse of the Stormont powersharing institutions can be prevented.

The DUP has indicated it is prepared to “act unilaterally” to seek the expulsion of Sinn Féin from the Northern Ireland Executive because of the alleged involvement of IRA members in the killing of Belfast republican Kevin McGuigan.

Ms Villiers will meet Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald on Tuesday to discuss the political crisis that followed the killing of Mr McGuigan.

Behind-the-scenes contacts involving the Dublin and London governments and the North’s parties are to continue over the weekend to establish if there is any way of rescuing the Executive and Assembly.


A senior DUP source said if there was to be any chance of retrieving the situation, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams must shift from his stance of insisting PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton was wrong in his assessment the IRA still existed and that some of its members were involved in Mr McGuigan's murder, albeit without the sanction of the IRA leadership.


He said the two governments may also have to initiate talks to address this problem and the other issue threatening Stormont, welfare reform. It is expected Ms Villiers and Mr Flanagan will consider if fresh all-party talks led by Dublin and London could help to find a resolution of the crisis.

Mr Flanagan said on Thursday he remained “of the strong view that the interests and welfare of the people of Northern Ireland are best served by an inclusive and fully functioning powersharing Executive”.

The decision of UUP leader Mike Nesbitt to withdraw Danny Kennedy from the Executive put pressure on the DUP to follow suit. However, DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds said there would be no "knee jerk" reaction to the UUP exit.