Monday, 11 December, 2017

Sinn Fein cautious on DUP, May tie-up but would welcome funding

Deal with N. Ireland party may add to Tories' woes Talks on the resumption of power sharing to recommence today
Howard Terry | 19 June, 2017, 02:07

Prime Minister Theresa May will host leaders of Northern Irish parties including Sinn Fein for talks in Downing Street tomorrow, as she continues to seek an informal alliance with unionists.

Negotiations broke up on Tuesday night without an agreement, but Mrs May said the discussions had been "productive".

"Bringing stability to the United Kingdom government in and around issues around Brexit, obviously around counter-terrorism, and then doing what's right for Northern Ireland in respect of economic matters".

She is set to meet with all 10 DUP members of parliament along with unionist and nationalist leaders.

Conservative former Prime Minister Sir John, who was crucial in bringing peace to Northern Ireland, raised concerns about the impact of a Tory deal with the DUP.

The party would oppose any deal that would, he said, undermine that agreement.

The listing of four policy areas where the parties are in agreement suggests a final deal may go further than a basic confidence and supply arrangement, which would see the DUP guarantee its support only on financial measures and no-confidence votes.

Northern Ireland is now without a government, after a surge in support for Sinn Fein at Northern Irish Assembly elections earlier this year left nationalist parties holding a majority over unionist ones the first time.

"I will be in London and Dublin over the coming days for talks with both Theresa May and the new Taoiseach Leo Varadkar", Ms O'Neill said in a statement.

An announcement on an agreement may not come until next week as it is thought it will be delayed as a result of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

A senior Conservative source said: "We are making a lot of progress".

During the appearance, Ms O'Neill said: 'We made very clear to the prime minister that any deal between herself and the DUP can not undermine the Good Friday agreement.

He warned that a deal between the Conservatives and DUP would be in breach.

One of the most pressing issues facing Mrs May is the process of leaving the European Union, with Brexit talks set to start in Brussels on Monday.

It means that Mrs May will remain as prime minister and the DUP MPs will be central to the survival of a Conservative Party administration.

"We want to know what is in the deal they are offering to the DUP and we want to know when it is going to be put before Parliament", he said.

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