UK PM Johnson visits N. Ireland to meet new executive, Irish PM
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Northern Ireland on Monday to mark the restoration of the British province’s devolved executive after three years and to hold talks with Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar.
Parties representing Irish nationalists and pro-British unionists on Saturday ended a three-year standoff that had threatened a key part of the region’s 1998 peace settlement by forming a new power-sharing administration.
Johnson met First Minister Arlene Foster of the pro-British Democratic Unionist Party and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill of Irish nationalists Sinn Fein on arrival at the Stormont estate, seat of the Northern Ireland government.
Varadkar and Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney were due to arrive later for talks, an Irish government spokesman said.
Before the 1998 peace deal, Northern Ireland suffered three decades of sectarian violence between Irish nationalist militants seeking a united Ireland and pro-British loyalists defending the region’s place in the United Kingdom.
The so-called Good Friday Agreement established the Assembly — a devolved legislature with a power-sharing leadership which has administrative responsibility for the province and can make new laws in areas such as the economy, finance and healthcare.
That arrangement collapsed in 2017 when Sinn Fein withdrew, saying it was not being treated equally by the DUP.