Don't put Good Friday agreement in jeopardy, Irish premier warns May

Irish premier Enda Kenny has told Theresa May the outworking of the general election must not put the Good Friday Agreement at risk.

Irish premier Enda Kenny. Picture: PA
Irish premier Enda Kenny. Picture: PA

The Taoiseach’s intervention comes amid concerns about the impact on the peace process of any DUP/Conservative link-up.

The 1998 peace accord, which provides the template for power-sharing at Stormont, commits the UK and Irish governments to demonstrate “rigorous impartiality” when it comes to the differing political traditions in Northern Ireland.

The Conservatives’ ability to adhere to such a commitment if they are wedded to a parliamentary alliance with the DUP has been questioned.

The issue is particularly relevant at the moment, as talks to save the crisis-hit powersharing institutions at Stormont are due to resume on Monday.

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Mr Kenny, who will formally retire as Taoiseach in the coming days to be replaced by new Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar, said he spoke with Mrs May about protecting the Good Friday Agreement.

He also raised concern that there are no longer any Irish nationalist MPs in Westminster after the SDLP lost all its three seats.

Mr Kenny tweeted: “Spoke w PM May – indicated my concern that nothing should happen to put GoodFridayAgrmt at risk & absence of nationalist voice in Westminster.”

Earlier, Irish foreign minister Charlie Flanagan said a DUP/Tory agreement would “not necessarily” undermine the Northern Ireland peace process.

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Mr Flanagan said he has raised the matter with Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire.

Labour’s Yvette Cooper suggested that the Tories’ deal with the DUP could put the Northern Ireland peace process in jeopardy.

“This DUP deal that they have done is really dodgy, it is unsustainable,” the former shadow home secretary said.