Media reports say, citing Sinn Fein that tensions have aggravated after the DUP decided to cut a deal with Theresa May’s government.
The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and the republican Sinn Fein party could not come to an agreement on the formation of the Government of National Unity of Northern Ireland, despite the progress achieved during the negotiations, British Minister for Northern Ireland James Brockenshire stated on the air of the Sky News television channel Wednesday.
The minister stressed that London will be forced to introduce direct governance in the region to ensure the smooth operation of the public services sector of Northern Ireland. It was abolished by the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, which provided for the transfer of power in the region to local self-governing bodies created on a coalition basis.
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Later in the day, Theresa May in her address to the House of Commons commented on the problems the region has faced, saying that the British authorities do not want a return to direct rule in Northern Ireland.
“We all want to see a Northern Ireland executive restored,” she stated.
The negotiating parties have very different strategic goals: if a Democratic Unionist party, which enjoys the support of Protestants, seeks to make Belfast closer to London, the Catholic Sinn Fein aims to unify the entire Emerald Island under the flag of the Republic of Ireland.
The situation in the country has been quite tense since January, when the coalition government comprising the DUP and the left-wing Sein Fenn collapsed. The sides have failed to reach a compromise on power balance, therefore raising the specter of direct rule from London. After the June failure by Conservatives to gain a parliamentary majority, UK Prime Minister Theresa May agreed with the DUP for support. However, this step was widely criticized as it might lead to a new collapse in DUP-Sinn Fein talks.