Irish News Editorial. Belfast. Friday, March 30, 2018
Theresa May was on slightly firmer ground on her visit to Northern Ireland yesterday than when she traveled here last month in anticipation of a Stormont deal.

On that occasion, she was forced to slip away empty-handed but returned yesterday as part of a carefully managed whistle-stop tour of the UK regions marking a year to go until the Brexit date.

Apart from generating some positive publicity shots, it is not clear what she hoped to achieve.

Certainly, there was little of substance on offer during her brief stop at a family farm near Bangor in Co Down, an area which is not exactly in the front line of the border issue.

A visit to a farm straddling the border might have been more appropriate, but Mrs. May seemed reluctant to make that issue the focus of her trip.

Indeed, during her short visit she declined to commit to visiting the border before Britain leaves the EU, saying: ‘’I think it’s not a question of just whether I actually go and stand on the border, it’s a question of do I understand the impact that has for people?’’

It could be argued that going to the area and speaking to those who have to deal with the consequences of Brexit would give her a better understanding of their concerns.

The same applies to her Brexit secretary David Davis who has also failed to visit the border despite it being the biggest stumbling block to progress in the withdrawal negotiations.

There is no substitute for spending time listening to the farmers, the business owners and the workers who have genuine worries about what the future holds and who need greater certainty than has been provided thus far.