Brexit could be a matter of life or death for Northern Ireland

The newly appointed Foreign Affairs Minister said an agreement should not be an accord struck only between the two largest parties – the DUP and Sinn Féin.”As a UK Government we remain absolutely steadfast in our commitment to the Belfast Agreement, its successor agreements”.Mr Coveney said he would highlight the particular issues facing Northern Ireland – in regard to the peace process and cross-border movement – when he met the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Luxembourg today.”Among other things, we will discuss Northern Ireland and the need to re-establish devolved government, and Brexit, focusing on how we can avoid any adverse impact on the rights and freedoms of our citizens, on trade and the economy”.She also expressed confidence that negotiations to restore a power-sharing executive in Stormont will be successful and institutions will be up and running again by the deadline of June 29.After touring the wrecked and fire-blackened apartment block and ordering an inquiry, May returned to talks to try to seal a deal with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to secure the backing of their 10 lawmakers in parliament to help her pass laws and govern as Britain starts talks to leave the EU.”From all the parties there was a sense of can do, of positivity, while at the same time having firm and clear positions, as you would expect”, he said.Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar held separate talks on Friday with delegations from the two major parties in Northern Ireland over the restoration of a power-sharing executive there.Amnesty International has welcomed the results of the Northern Ireland Life and Times survey which has revealed that an overwhelming majority of people in Northern Ireland favour reform of Northern Ireland’s abortion laws.Sinn Féin’s Northern Ireland leader Michelle O’Neill said that on Brexit the Sinn Féin call for special designated status for Northern Ireland within the European Union was “building up traction” across Europe.Mrs May said: “I am personally committed to ensuring a practical solution that recognises the unique economic, social, cultural and political context of the land border with Ireland, which so many people pass through every day, and it remains our priority to work closely with the Irish Government to ensure as frictionless and seamless a border as possible”.Mr Coveney said several “core issues” still stand in the way of an agreement but he said he did not consider them “insurmountable”.”We continue our discussions with the DUP. We are hopeful of getting resolution to them as quickly as we possibly can”.

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