Enda Kenny: Westminster needs Irish nationalists

Outgoing Taoiseach Enda Kenny has raised concerns with embattled British prime minister Theresa May about the lack of Irish nationalist voices in Westminster.

The pair spoke by phone yesterday morning. Amid growing concern over the proposed deal between Ms May’s Conservative Party and the Democratic Unionist Party, the two leaders discussed the potential impact of the UK general election result on the peace process.

Mr Kenny expressed concern that, given the lack of any SDLP MP in the new House of Commons, and Sinn Fein’s policy of not taking their seats, northern nationalists will have no voice in the UK parliament.

According to a statement, the two leaders discussed the outcome of the election and Ms May outlined the proposed supply-and-confidence arrangement between her party and the DUP.

“The Taoiseach indicated his concern that nothing should happen to put the Good Friday Agreement at risk and the challenge that this agreement will bring,” the statement said.

Both leaders agreed that of immediate concern were efforts to establish an executive, with exploratory discussions with Northern Irish parties to take place tomorrow, the statement added.

They discussed the meeting between the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan, and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Brokenshire, which is scheduled for today.

On Brexit, Mr Kenny and Ms May noted that talks were set to begin, as planned, later this month, with Mr Kenny reiterating Irish concerns. The Taoiseach stated that there should be an early meeting between May and his successor, Leo Varadkar, and he wished her well in the challenges ahead.


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