Foster and McGuinness have differing views on Brexit

The two ministers met the UK Prime Minister earlier today

Foster and McGuinness have differing views on Brexit

Image: Photocall Ireland

The North's First Minister, Arlene Foster, along with deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, met with the new UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, earlier today.

While the nature of the meeting was cordial, there is disagreement about how Brexit will affect the UK's relationship with this island given our close trade links and Common Travel Area. The North voted by 56% to 44% for the UK to remain within the EU. 

Speaking afterwards Arlene Foster said: “The Prime Minister was very clear that she is absolutely committed to the UK leaving the European Union, and that we should endeavour not simply to make the best of the situation but to achieve success that will leave all of the UK in a better position."

"The Prime Minister and new Secretary of State are well versed in the Common Travel Area from their most recent roles in the Home Office, but I reinforced the importance of ensuring there must be no internal borders within the UK".

"The Prime Minister provided reassurance that recent developments in Government did not impact on previous commitments to Northern Ireland such as devolving corporation tax powers," she added.

However, Martin McGuinness was less impressed announcing that there was "absolutely no good news whatsoever about Brexit."

"There are no good opportunities flowing from Brexit and I made it clear to the British Prime Minister that the democratically expressed wishes of the people of the north, who see their future in Europe and voted to remain in Europe, should be respected".

There was no mention of a border poll in the future despite Enda Kenny mentioning the prospect of such a vote last week at the MacGill Summer School in Donegal. 

An online poll in the Belfast Telegraph has, as of today, had over 44,500 votes. 75% of respondents want to have a vote on the border whilst 70% would vote for a united Ireland if such a vote occurred. 

Under the Good Friday Agreement a border poll can only be called when there is clear evidence of a swing in public opinion towards Irish unity.