DUP source says talks with Tories 'not proceeding as expected'

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21 June, 2017

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR paid his first visit to No. 10 Downing Street today, for talks with UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

Speaking after his first meeting with European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier since being appointed to his new role, Mr Coveney said Ireland's unique circumstances are well understood in Brussels.

Maybe this, in which he compares his first time in Downing Street to the antics of Hugh Grant's fictitious Prime Minister in schlocky Christmas staple Love Actually, is a work of genius.

"I want to renew the close bond and strong relations that exist between Ireland and the United Kingdom", he said.

He also offered condolences on behalf of the Irish people and the Irish government to all those affected by the recent tragedies in London.

"Whatever happens there could have - we don't know if it will because we haven't seen any of what's going on - could have an impact on what's happening".

"I think pretty much everybody in Ireland has somebody who lives here, a relative or a close friend, and when there is an attack on London we feel in Ireland that it's nearly an attack on us as well".

Any deal to salvage powersharing at Stormont should involve Northern Ireland's five main parties, Simon Coveney has said.

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Mr Coveney stressed the importance of having an administration in place during the Brexit process.

"This is a technically hard issue but one that I am certain is soluble, although it will probably take us to the end of the process until we've decided what our customs and free trade arrangements are", Davis said yesterday, signaling a final settlement may not be reached until autumn 2018, when the Brexit negotiations are hoped to conclude.

May is due to launch her programme for government on Wednesday but does not yet have the deal she needs to pass it through parliament next week.

"We continue our discussions with the DUP".

Mr Varadkar confirmed he raised the issue at the meeting.

Mrs May insisted any deal with the DUP would not damage the Northern Irish peace process, despite claims to the contrary by Sinn Fein and others.

On Monday, Mr Coveney said: "As the representative of the Irish Government at the talks, I will do my utmost to support the parties in reaching an agreement which ensures that the integrity of the Good Friday Agreement is fully protected, that all of its institutions function effectively and fairly and that previous agreements are honourably implemented".


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