Northern Ireland needs voice at Brexit table: Dublin leaders

Micheal Martin said the Stormont stalemate threatens the progress of the peace process
Micheal Martin said the Stormont stalemate threatens the progress of the peace process

The head of one of the Republic’s main political parties has called for a Northern Irish government to reconvene so the Province can have a voice over Brexit, it has been reported.

Leader of Fianna Fail Micheal Martin was speaking the day after Leo Varadkar – the Irish taoseach and leader of the Fine Gael party – used a visit to Northern Ireland to say the EU and Irish government need to know who can “speak for Northern Ireland” in the Brexit process.

Mr Martin, speaking at the party’s annual conference in Dublin on Saturday, was quoted by the BBC as saying: “Central to getting through Brexit is for the northern Executive and Assembly to be re-established.

“Northern Ireland is not at the table and its voice cannot be heard.

“The failure of Sinn Fein and the DUP to govern is threatening the progress achieved over the last 20 years.

“It is leaving Northern Ireland with no say as the Tory civil war continues to make a bad Brexit decision even worse.”

It echoes remarks from Mr Varadkar on Friday, who, during a visit to Londonderry, said: “Now more than ever we need an answer to the question, of who we – and others in Europe – talk to in Belfast?

“Who will speak for Northern Ireland and her 1.8 million people?

“The clock is ticking and it is later than you think.

“We must protect what has been achieved in recent decades through the peace process and with the support and facilitation of the European Union.”

He also said said he might attempt to seek some kind of “unique solution” to how the Province deals with Brexit, which does not “undermine the constitutional settlement”.