TUV slams Simon Coveney over Stormont press conference

Simon Coveney speaking to the media outside Stormont House  on Thursday
Simon Coveney speaking to the media outside Stormont House on Thursday
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The TUV has hit out at deputy Irish premier Simon Coveney after he dominated a press conference about ongoing talks at Stormont to restore power-sharing.

The party spoke out after Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley was criticised by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) for refusing to take questions from the media.

After political talks at Stormont on Thursday, Mrs Bradley spoke to the press for one minute and declined to take any questions from journalists.

It is the latest occasion on which she has refused to take questions.

After Mrs Bradley’s appearance, Mr Coveney spoke to reporters for 10 minutes and took questions.

A TUV spokesperson said: “Coveney needs to mind his own business and the UK government needs to tell him as much.

“It is deeply troubling to many unionists that a Westminster government which is kept in office by unionist MPs from Northern Ireland has not already done so.

“It is supposedly a fundamental principle of the Belfast Agreement that the internal affairs of Northern Ireland are not a matter for the Irish government yet they regularly interfere.

“It is long past the point when they should be told to mind their own business.”

Ciarán Ó Maoláin, a member of the NUJ’s national executive and the secretary of the union’s Belfast branch, said: “We all want to see progress in politics and that requires informed debate, transparency and honesty on all sides.

“For a government minister to treat journalists with apparent contempt – refusing to take a single question when so many important issues are being discussed – does nothing to advance the political process.”