Sean Defoe
Sean Defoe

13.58 11 Jun 2021


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The Taoiseach has said the Northern Irish institutions cannot be undermined at a time when COVID-19 is still a live threat.

Ministers from across Ireland and the UK gathered for the British-Irish Council in Co Fermanagh earlier today.

They discussed recovery from the pandemic, Brexit and the Northern Ireland protocol.

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Micheál Martin and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar were both in attendance, with COVID-19 the main topic, with 20 to 25% of new cases in the North being confirmed as the Delta variant of the virus.

The meeting also marked a swansong event for Arlene Foster as Northern Ireland's First Minister.

The other political leaders attending the summit in Mrs Foster's home county was her replacement as DUP leader, Edwin Poots, and British Minister Michael Gove.

Mr Gove and Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis represented the British government at the meeting, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson is taking part in the G7 summit in Cornwall.

The case for the Northern Ireland protocol was bolstered following US President Joe Biden's intervention and rebuke of Boris Johnson ahead of the G7 summit today.

Speaking following the British-Irish Council meeting, the Taoiseach said that with the threat of the Delta variant looming, it is important the Northern Ireland's institutions stay running through the transfer of power happening within the DUP.

"Obviously, there will always be issues, there have always been issues and the parties will engage and work through those issues," Mr Martin said.

"There are overarching agreements that everyone has signed up to and  people do need commitments in respect of those agreements."

Main image: Taoiseach Micheal Martin, Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill, First Minister Arlene Foster and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove at the British-Irish Council summit in Lough Erne Resort in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire/PA Images

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Arlene Foster British-Irish Council Fermanagh Micheál Martin Northern Ireland Northern Ireland Protocol

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