Foster’s position much weakened

Posted By: February 15, 2018


Distributed by Irish National Caucus

English and Irish newspapers put blame squarely on DUP… So, too, must the US Congress.

Foster’s position much weakened

Irish News Editorial. Belfast. Thursday, February 15, 2018

In the space of less than a week, the Stormont talks process has been surrounded by contrasting periods of considerable optimism, huge anticipation, growing concern and ultimately bitter disappointment.

The climate has largely been shaped by changes of mood within the DUP, so it was probably appropriate that the end of the present round of discussions was signaled yesterday by a sharply negative statement from Arlene Foster.

All the indications are that the main parties, as well as the Irish and British governments, were ready to finalize a deal for the restoration of devolution which was vetoed at the 11th hour by the DUP leader’s internal opponents.

A return to the negotiating table is inevitable sooner or later, but Mrs. Foster or her successor will plainly go there in a much-weakened position. The DUP has an unusual way of doing business.

NO DEAL Theresa May humiliated by DUP partners after Northern Ireland government talks collapse after her visit

 Harry Cole, Westminster Correspondent, The Sun.England.Thursday, February 15, 2018

THERESA MAY was left humiliated last night as a power-sharing deal in Northern Ireland was dead in the water – less than 48 hours the PM flew to the province to herald a breakthrough.

Her ally and DUP boss Arlene Foster said there was “no prospect” of a deal, pointing to a return to direct rule from London.

Theresa May flew to Belfast earlier this week ahead of an expected deal
In a statement, which has effectively torpedoed talks aimed at ending the 13-month impasse at Stormont, Mrs. Foster said attempts to find a stable and sustainable resolution had been unsuccessful.

She said: “In our view, there is no current prospect of these discussions leading to an Executive being formed.”

And she called for direct rule from London: “It is now incumbent upon Her Majesty’s Government to set a budget and start making policy decisions about our schools, hospitals, and infrastructure.”

The Stormont government collapsed last year in a row over a botched green energy scheme.

Since then divisions over issues including Irish language rights, same-sex marriage and how to deal with the legacy of Northern Ireland’s troubled past have proved insurmountable.

But On Monday the Prime Minister Theresa May and Taoiseach Leo Varadakar traveled to Stormont to encourage the region’s parties to finally end the deadlock

Mrs. May urged them to make “one final push” to strike a deal to salvage powersharing.

Afterwards, Mrs. Foster said while the leaders were welcome, their presence proved a “bit of a distraction” as it interrupted negotiations. The DUP leader said the governments had been told in advance of their trip that “the deal wasn’t done.”

She said that she believed a deal was on the cards, and it was now time for representatives to work together
The DUP’s Simon Hamilton said: “I think the visit of the Prime Minister and the Taoiseach acted as a bit of a distraction at the beginning of the week.

“I don’t think it was entirely helpful in getting us to reach a successful conclusion.”

“I am sure, as all prime ministers get advice from time to time they can take that advice, or they can ignore that advice. Certainly, in our view, it acted as a distraction.”

Sinn Fein’s Northern Ireland chief Michelle O’Neill said the party had stretched itself and blamed the DUP for collapsing a process aimed at rebuilding coalition government at Stormont after a 13-month suspension.