Kenny meets SDLP in bid to save executive

Taoiseach Enda Kenny will today meet the SDLP in a bid to prevent the collapse of the North’s power-sharing executive.

The move comes in the wake of threats by unionists to collapse the institutions following the arrests of senior republicans in relation to an IRA murder.

The arrests of Bobby Storey, the chairman of Sinn Féin in the North, with two others resulted in the Democratic Unionist Party threatening to quit.

Mr Kenny intervened and phoned deputy first minister Martin McGuinness to stress that Sinn Féin and others had a “responsibility” to support the institutions.

But DUP leader Peter Robinson vowed to collapse them if they are not suspended following the arrests over the shooting of former IRA man Kevin McGuigan.

He said if others did not back the suspension in a vote today, or if Britain did not, that the DUP would walk.

Mr Kenny’s meeting with the SDLP in Dublin today is seen as a bid to win the vote to adjourn the executive, rather than have it suspended.

The PSNI says the IRA were involved in the shooting of Mr McGuigan — in a revenge attack for a previous murder.

Sinn Féin faces growing questions but insists competition for electoral support between unionists is driving the crisis.

Gerry Adams said the arrest of Mr Storey, a close associate of his, was “very serious and unnecessary”.

He said the IRA structure no longer existed, adding: “Sinn Féin and those who vote for us are not accountable for murders or for criminals who carried out these killings.”

Efforts continued last night to pull parties back from the brink. Parallel negotiations are being considered to allow all sides continue peace talks while also resolving concerns about the IRA, but behind closed doors.

Sean Sherlock, minister of state for the North, said: “The Government stands ready to negotiate with parties and the British government. It is vital that we try and get everybody around the table again.”

Gardaí are in regular contact with the PSNI on the investigation into Mr McGuigan’s murder.


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