Irish PM expresses concern over May's proposed DUP deal

The Northern Ireland Secretary appears to have ruled out an independent mediator to chair talks to restore powersharing amid criticism his impartiality has been compromised by the anticipated Democratic Unionist/Conservative parliamentary deal.

In a phone call with British Prime Minster Theresa May, Kenny warned that efforts to shore up her minority government with the hardline Protestant DUP should not put at risk the Good Friday peace accords.

Sinn Fein has expressed concern that the British government can no longer be expected to act as an honest broker, as it is required to under the Good Friday Agreement, because of its dependence on the DUP.

Arlene Foster said she hoped to capitalise on opportunities the situation presented for the North.

The senior Conservative said he did not know what the DUP had been demanding in the negotiations with the government, but stressed that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's associations with Sinn Fein, the republican party, was very much a "live issue" in Northern Ireland. We are meeting with the two governments and all the parties this afternoon.

"But what I spoke to the prime minister about yesterday was the need for a categoric assurance that talking with the DUP would not result in any roll back of LGBTI rights in the rest of the United Kingdom - because as the Conservative Party we are the party of equal marriage, we introduced it to the House of Commons - and also that we would use our influence to try to advance LGBTI rights in Northern Ireland - and they're assurances that I got".

She added: "The mandate given to us by the people will be used responsibly".

The DUP has controversially used the petition of concern mechanism at Stormont to block legislation on same-sex marriage and Northern Ireland remains the only part of Britain and Ireland where it is not legal.

"I have no doubt over time those responsible will look foolish in the extreme", she said.

DUBLIN, June 12 Irish PM designate Leo Varadkar said on Monday that Theresa May's failure to win a majority in last week's election might result in a softer Brexit, as it leaves her more dependent on lawmakers who would favour such a deal.

Mrs Foster concluded: "The next few weeks represent a real opportunity for everyone in Northern Ireland to heed the will of the people and capitalise on the opportunities that lie ahead for everyone".

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