DUP rules out Enda Kenny plans for Brexit talks

Enda Kenny’s fresh efforts at convening an all-island forum on Brexit have been dealt another blow after the North’s DUP refused to participate.

Mr Kenny told the Dáil yesterday he planned to convene a ‘conversation’ on Brexit in November, involving businesses, farming groups, communities, and political parties. “We need the conversation as to what is going to happen in terms of agribusiness North-South, meat producers, beef producers, pork producers, industry, financial services, education, and health.”

He later said his impression was that Brexit may be triggered by London “towards the end of January or February”.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and a spokesman for the Taoiseach refused yesterday to answer any questions about the fresh forum proposal, with the latter saying it was “too early for detail”.

Mr Kenny said he would ask his ministers to engage with their counterparts in the North in respect of the forthcoming North-South ministerial council.

But, with the renewed push for a forum suggested by Mr Kenny, the DUP again shot down the idea. In a statement last night, it said its position remains that no new talks were necessary and that it would not be participating in such a forum.

Party leader and the North’s first minister, Arlene Foster, had rejected any idea of a forum when it was originally suggested by Mr Kenny in the summer.

The situation will again raise questions about whether Mr Kenny consulted politicians properly in the North about the idea, and furthermore, whether the suggestion was run past officials in the Department of Foreign Affairs. Mr Kenny also told the Dáil yesterday he feared the Brexit process would last for some time. “It might not be as straightforward or as short-term as many people think,” he said.

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