WATCH DUP leader Arlene Foster brands Theresa May’s Northern Ireland visit ‘a distraction’
DUP leader Arlene Foster has branded Theresa May’s attempt to reach a power-sharing agreement in Northern Ireland a “distraction”.
The Prime Minister attended talks in Stormont yesterday with the country’s main political parties in a bid to restore devolved government after over a year of deadlock.
Northern Ireland has been without an executive since January 2017, when then Sinn Fein leader Martin McGuinness pulled his party out in protest at the DUP's handling of a renewable energy scheme.
Mrs May’s visit this week was intended to provide a breakthrough, but was dismissed as “a distraction” by Ms Foster, who told Sky news there was “still work to do”.
SDLP leader Colum Eastwood was equally critical of the talks, saying both the UK and Irish governments have been "left embarrassed" after leaving Belfast without a deal.
Mrs May and the Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar had hoped that yesterday’s discussions with all five main assembly parties would restore devolved government to the region.
But a DUP source told the BBC a deal was "not likely" and both leaders left empty handed.
The Prime Minister said yesterday: "Today I have been meeting the leaders of the main parties involved in the talks and I have urged them to make one final push for the sake of the people here in Northern Ireland.
"It has been thirteen long months since we last saw devolved government here and I think we are now at the point of where it is time for the locally elected representatives to find a way to work together and to deal with and tackle the many pressing issues facing Northern Ireland."