New momentum expected in the Stormont talks as both premiers engage

So Theresa averted a crash after all. She may even have been taking part  in a piece of theatre typical of the old peace process days.  The intervention of not just one but both prime ministers in succession suggests more momentum will be injected into the Stormont talks, spurred ironically by the prospect  of a  DUP deal with the Tory government at Westminster. That’s even before any outsider is sure it’s done and dusted – apart from the new taoiseach.

The best line I’ve seen so far is Leo Varadkar’s intervention  tomorrow when Arlene Foster meets him. This a bold move ahead of the northern nationalists.  He will look for assurances that DUP deal will not  breach the  impartiality requirements of the GFA, If he gets them we may expect joint pressure from May and Varadkar to seal a Stormont  deal.

It may even be that Gerry Adams is a willing accessory to the choreography. .   .

Meanwhile  at Westminster  the Queen’ s speech will be on Wednesday, with or without a DUP deal

Tom Newton Dunn pol ed of the Sun tweets 


Theresa now challenging DUP not to vote down her Govt, with potentially no deal agreed at all. Highest possible stakes brinkmanship.

I bet it’ll agreed by then.  From May’s point of view a DUP deal is  still worth having, for although they  will always vote to keep Corbyn out they can still make a lot of trouble for the government on a host of issues.  And under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act it is now more difficult to dislodge a government as it requires a 65% vote of the Commons to do so. That seems inconceivable unless the Conservative party splits.

Conservative source who briefed journalists said Theresa May was “confident” that the Queen’s speech would be passed but he did not say the DUP would definitely vote for it. He implied that they would, because he said that the the Tories and the DUP were committed to a four-point agenda involving “strengthening the union, combating terrorism, delivering Brexit and delivering prosperity”, but it sounded as if the DUP has not yet given a cast-iron commitment to vote in favour.

But May does seem confident that the DUP would not vote against. The DUP has said it would not act in such a way as to allow Jeremy Corbyn to become prime minister. And as long as the DUP at least abstains, the Tories will definitely win the vote.

Then the Ulster parade. First up Gerry. What a surprise!

We have just finished a meeting with the British prime minister and her secretary of state. And we told her very directly that she was in breach of the Good Friday agreement and we itemised those matters in which she was dilatory or in default in relation to that agreement.

Adams also said that he and his colleagues handed over the resignation letter written by the late Martin McGuinness when he stood down as Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister. Adams said that set out the problems that were holding up the restoration of power-sharing in Northern Ireland.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said that a deal between the government and the DUP cannot be one that gives the DUP power over the Conservative Party.

“We have to judge it on its merits and see what the deal looks like,” he said.

“I think this (Stormont deal) can be done by the end of June, it requires a change of attitude from the rest of the parties and requires the British government to prove to the rest of us that they are not under the thumb of the DUP.”

Alliance Party leader Naomi Long told the media outside Downing Street that they had a “very constructive engagement” with the prime minister but that “actions speak louder than words” when it comes to the government’s impartiality in the talks.

“She did not tell us the detail of the deal, nor did she tell us she had a deal nailed down,” said Mrs Long. “She simply said that they were working on an arrangement for confidence and supply.”

Mrs Long added: “She (Mrs May) sought to give us reassurance on the issue of neutrality but we have to be practical about these things.

“In reality, the government is here simply because the DUP allow it to be so.”

UUP leader Robin Swann said that Mrs May reassured him that the “entire deal (with the DUP) will be made public”.

“One thing we have made clear to the prime minister is that we are concerned that any deal reached is open and transparent and that everybody gets to see the entire negotiation.”

He added that calls from other parties for the NI Secretary to be replaced as chair of the talks is a “side show” and a “waste of time and a distraction


Henry McDonald reports that  the new Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has wasted no time in getting stuck in. He seems to know more than Westminster MPs. The London-Dublin partnership is alive and well under new management.

The Democratic Unionist leader and now Westminster kingmaker, Arlene Foster, will travel to Dublin tomorrow to meet Ireland’s new taoiseach, Leo Varadkar.

The Irish prime minister is hosting the leaders of all the main political parties in Northern Ireland as he weighs in on efforts to push them towards agreement to restore power sharing in the region by the end of this month.

Senior Irish sources said they were optimistic that a deal on devolution was still possible and believe that today’s meetings between Theresa May and the Northern Irish parties is part of “choreography” designed to build trust before the main talks next week.

The Irish sources said they expected there would be some “transparency” about the looming deal between the DUP and the Conservatives over putting the Tories back into power.

Crucially, they told the Guardian that, contrary to some reports, they expect the DUP will vote for the Queen’s speech next Wednesday rather than simply abstain.

The Irish government believes May will stress in her meetings today that the British are still committed to the “rigorous impartiality” enshrined in the Good Friday agreement.

As for the delay in revealing the DUP-Tory deal, the Irish say that up to 90% of the agreement is probably finalised but that some of the economic dividends the DUP are seeking from the arrangement are currently being evaluated by the Treasury.


  • TheHorse

    Not much to argue with there AG.

  • Skibo

    So rather than a rotten sectarian bun fight where both side could have their say, it would simply be a sectarian carve up of resources and directed to suit the DUP.

  • Dónall

    I suppose in this way it serves two purposes for Leo Varadakar: curtailing Fianna Fáil and boosting his allies in the Labour party.

  • Dónall


  • Dónall


  • Skibo

    James the legislation will not result in compulsory use but in protection of being able to use the Irish language.
    The DUP have shown they are unable to be trusted with the protection of the Irish language.

  • TheHorse

    Exactly Skibo just like the Union flag has no official status in British law and is only regarded as the national flag by virtue of custom and practice.

  • Skibo

    The Act will not require the compulsory learning of Irish, just as the Scottish Gaelic and Welsh language Act does not require the compulsory learning of those languages either.
    This is and always will be part of the problem with equality. Unionism will always view equality of Irish culture as a law that they have to learn Irish culture and language. It does not. It merely protects the right of people to learn and use it.

  • Skibo

    History shows that both the English language and the Union flag are things that have been imposed on countries the world over at the point of a gun.

  • Eoin Fogarty

    Yes for sure but still partitioned and I cant see it as a solution. Ulsterisation cant transend that problem

  • Zorin001

    Yes, imagine taking to the streets to bring down an executive, thank goodness that sort of thing has never happened in Northern Ireland…..

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    If Irish and British nationalism can transcend borders then why can’t Ulster nationalism? (It does complicate things though and would probably be easier in a UI where a proper north vs south mentality can be created and exploited…)

  • Eoin Fogarty

    Maybe there are enough divisions at the moment theres no space for another. Also its somewhat poorly defined in peoples minds.

    Ulster as a whole has a decent claim to identy compared to the other provinces. Id always imaged Munster should aswell but intercounty rivalries are big and it doesnt really exist.

    I dont think it would be a north south mentality. More like a north, look at that mess south mentality. We have Dublin/culchies , Whest, Cork and other divides.

  • The Irishman

    This again Chris…

  • Trasna

    And what is Ulster’s version of music, dance, sports and cultural markers?

  • ted hagan

    The Tories don’t know their arse from their elbow at the moment, and the electorate are wising up to that.

  • grumpy oul man

    Ill just file that away with your last election prediction.

  • Trasna

    Christ, what’s with all the conflict.

    What’s so ugly and vile about the rest of the Irish population that you so repudiate and wish to drive a wedge through?

  • james

    I’m confused – do you think it’s ok, or not ok to do so?

  • james

    Does it protect the ‘right’ of Irish speakers to be understood?

  • Casper

    Make sure you keep it in a strong and stable place.

  • grumpy oul man

    God that terrible. Nowhere else ould someine take mobs onto the street to overthrow a goverment.
    Only the truly evil would do that.
    Do you think the I million marchers will be peaceful or will it be like the UWC with mass murder and street disorder, or like the protests after the AIA ( not as many murders but plenty of UDA/UVF types helping out.
    Or will be like Drumcree or Twaddell.
    The Fleggers could be the template.
    Honestly unionists get all righteous about Street protest to oppose a government is laughable considering they do it at the drop of a hat and violently.

  • Casper

    Why is it that we all still don’t still speak Irish? I’m sure I read somewhere it used to be very popular from Rathlin to Cork.

  • grumpy oul man

    Ask the DUP, and thier buddies in the OO and the UVF/UDA they all regard it as a perfectally acceptable tactic.
    But i can assume that if you think O”Donnell is wrong let me hear you condemn all the times unionisn done it.
    As a matter of fact its how the north got started.

  • Casper

    Scotland’s politics almost Ulsterized recently, now England is going to be tested in the same way. Looks like a bumpy time ahead.

  • Zorin001

    Peaceful protest is fine, which no doubt this Labour march will be.

    Violent street protests, such as blocking roads with the implicit or explicit threats of violence, petrol bombing political offices and direct violent action against a democratically elected and democratic Government or Executive not so much.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Simply localised versions of the rich vein of similar culture running through Ireland and Scotland.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “Christ, what’s with all the conflict.”

    Quite the contrary, if setting Ulster culture as something ‘different’ then it has the potential to unite people within Ulster.

    “What’s so ugly and vile about the rest of the Irish population that you so repudiate and wish to drive a wedge through?”

    If you think I view the rest of the Irish population as ‘vile and ugly’ from what I have written then in all seriousness how can I discuss anything with you as you clearly wish to reach for the worst possible conclusion?

  • Dónall

    Don’t distort facts Chris. Irish is a compulsory subject in both primary and secondary schools in the 26 counties. This therefore means that almost everyone who has went to school there in the last 97 years has some degree of Irish. Latest census figures of number of people who can speak Irish is 1,761,420.

    Irish is also the 7th most popular world language on the language learning app Duolingo with over two million learners (mostly from North America)

    People who use Irish on a daily basis outside the school system numbers about 100,000 both North and South and there are around 41,000 people receiving education in the Irish language

    Irish is the first official language of Ireland and an official working language of the EU (one of the only lesser used languages to recieve such a status)

  • grumpy oul man

    I think that what AG iz getting at is our history and demographics makes ulster a different type of Irish from Cork. Think of the kingdom,
    Kerry and the people of Kerry are a little bit different from the rest of the Irish ulster men and women are a lot different.
    We have two distinct cultures which if they could fuse we would be a powerful influence in a new Ireland.
    It would be a more Ulster, Ulster but not any less Irish.
    ( by the way Kerry Rocks, just in case anybody thinks i was dissing the place)

  • NotNowJohnny

    As a ‘prod’, I didn’t have a problem with how it was handled. You start to wonder was it a really a problem with the handling or was it something else entirely.

  • grumpy oul man

    As we approach the central unionist festival celebrating a battle in 1690, with Remeber 1690 a slogan unionist accuse omeone wishing a more cuturally mixed and enriched future is accused of wanting to travel back in time by a unionist, you couldnt make it up.
    Jame’s you know we have being hoping you would join the 20 century before it finishs.

  • ted hagan

    Good old Grumpy!

  • ted hagan

    And the nuclear submarine!

  • grumpy oul man

    Thank you Ted, i do think its important to put these little truths out there.
    There is a tendency among unionists to get all rightoeus when their own tactics are used by somebody else.

  • ted hagan

    Hugo Duncan.

  • james

    “Jame’s you know we have being hoping you would join the 20 century before it finishs.”

    GOM….. the 20th century has already finished.

    This is the 21st century.

    Confusing for Irish Republicans, I know.

  • William Kinmont

    Your point would be valid if casting the votes were not also reflecting the choice of where as well as who represents.
    In the point of compulsion I think it would be better than the options of AV or FPTP being debated elsewhere on here

  • ted hagan

    Want to reconsider that remark Chris? Have you not seen the mess the Tories and May are in after the Grenfell tower block tragedy?

  • Vince

    West Belfast in 1992.

  • grumpy oul man

    I know it the 21st century but i dint believe you could jump till the 21st. So we will settle for the 20th.

  • grumpy oul man

    Benign and honest. Still its sweet that people believe that about the Tories.
    Have you any time in history you could point to when the Tories were benign and honest?

  • james


    Hard to take you seriously when you have to be told what century we’re in…

  • grumpy oul man

    A typo james.
    Peobably the amusement caused by reading your outrage over the proposed million man march.
    And your furym about somebody opposing the goverment, a coup you called it, which is funny.
    You are aware that Carson and the UVF (heros of your i believe) done the same thing and the very party you leap to defend (the DUP) have many times brought mobs onto the streets to oppose goverments were they worked with terrorists.
    But your shock at peaceful marchers in London was so unionist and so amusing.
    So forgave me the typo here in the wee six remember the many times unionism has made the north ungovernable.

  • grumpy oul man

    Of course you do, but give her a chance she doesn’t have a terror group supporting her like the DUP does.

  • grumpy oul man

    So the DUP and the UUP had nothing to do with the way it was presented to the prods.
    Of course there was the leaflet whipping up the mob, how did you feel about that presentation!

  • Macca

    Islam is the most practiced faith in England and Wales. Time to make it your state religion?

  • Macca

    There are four distinct provinces in Ireland – it’s not a case of “Ulster” alone being distinct from “Ireland”. Also, let us not forget that Ulster is, historically the most “Irish” of the provinces. It was the seat of the Gaels and the stronghold of the native tongue for centuries – a return to a traditional Ulster will need to see this championed.

  • grumpy oul man

    Of course, im not excluding anything.
    As a Irishman and a Ulsterman the uniqueness of our culture is apperant, Irish but with layers missing in the rest of Ireland.
    Wiether we like it or not partition has made our experience different from the rest of Ireland.
    There is no point in ignoring this.
    Instead i think we should embrace it.
    Diversity rules!

  • james

    “A typo james.”

    Perhaps. Your posts do tend to be littered with them.

    “Peobably the amusement caused by reading your outrage over the proposed million man march.”

    Not really outrage – just amazement that in a liberal democracy like the UK that we have the spectacle of a politician making a fool of himself by suggesting people take to the streets in the immediate aftermath of a democratic election to try to topple the government that has just been handed a mandate to govern. An undemocratic, wholly idiotic suggestion. One can see why you approve.

    “And your fury about somebody opposing the goverment, a coup you called it, which is funny.”

    See above. No objection to opposition – it’s the suggested effort to subvert democracy i don’t like.

    “You are aware that Carson and the UVF…”


    ” (heros of your i believe)”


    “done the same thing and the very party you leap to defend (the DUP)”

    No, i don’t. I’ve toldyou before that I’ve never voted DUP. They are considerably less bad than SF, but not my party

    ” have many times brought mobs onto the streets”

    You’re very mixed up on this issue. Are you in favour of bringing people into the streets or not?

    ” to oppose goverments were they worked with terrorists.”

    Hardly, in dealing with SF, the DUP are themselves dealing with terrorists.

    “But your shock at peaceful marchers in London was so unionist and so amusing.”

    See point above. You will soon be bitterly complaining about Protestant church parades. I think you need to think about your position on this before publicly making a fool of yourself.

    “Us Nationlist seem to be much more popular than the DUP among the British, that must hurt.”

    I am British myself, as are the DUP, and many, many people who live in Northern Ireland so not sure what on earth this nonsensical statement of yours means.

  • grumpy oul man

    But james you leap to the DUPs defence so fast you must be a supporter.
    So just to be clear, you regard Carson and the UVF as thugs who used street violence to overthrow a goverment. And you would condemn the flaggers and those who wound them up.
    Glad to hear it and i apoligise.
    But i should tell you that you come across as a real DUP/UDA type.
    Of course the DUP has been able to work with SF,after all look at the bucket loads of experience that they had/have working with the UDA//UVF during the period when they were refusing to work with SF because they were terrorists.
    The last bit is quite Simple,
    The people on the big island are ashamed of unionisn and dont see it as British, the English, Scots and Welsh would rather deal qith anybody but the DUP
    only a party with no morals and desperate to hold onto power would work with unionisn( during the Scottish refurendum the Scottish unionists told NI unionists to stay away as they would harm the no vote) the outrage among nearly everybody on Britian over the DUP geting a whiff of power over there should tell you all you need to know.
    Check out “have i got news for you and Frankie Boyle.
    As for cimplaining about protestant church parades, i think you mean OO chirch parades, my wife is a protestant and her or none of her family feel the need to parade to church and unlike most of the OO they go every week.
    Oh did you see the Irish News front page today.
    Harold Gracy ( a great man for the oul protestant church parades) wrote a letter of thank to Billy Wright (the leader of a gang of drug dealing secterian murder gang that did a little pimping on the side)
    Thanking him for all his help at Drumcree.
    Was it Billys habit of murdering taigs he was tanking him for or do you think billy brought some coke and hookers up for the lads.
    Now how could any target (sorry meant nationlist) possibly find anything to complain about in a group that has such good relationships with the likes of Billy.

  • Accountant

    Except in the regions/nations, Corbyn got all the anti-Tory/anti-Brexit vote.

    He can’t win – everyone knows his policies are unaffordable.

    And the Leavers and the SNP won’t let Corbyn win.

    Another election would just end in another hung parliament – perhaps with SNP taking the DUP/NI’s goodies.

    The “progressives” lost a democratic vote. Hold government to account to make sure a Grenfell never recurs, but stop this nonsense about an alternative Queen’s speech/”bringing down an illegitimate government”.

  • Accountant

    I normally side with you, Chris, but this time you’re talking nonsense.

    Yes, let’s have DUP bringing home some bacon from Westminster, but we need a functioning Stormont also to ensure that NI works for everyone in NI on everything other than block grant and international policy.

  • Accountant

    I wouldn’t start counting your nationalist chickens as being safe with the Brit press just yet, GOL.

    Can you imagine what they would have to say about SF ?

    Even SDLP and overall ongoing Catholic social conservatism highlighted in NI Life & Times survey would leave us all as looking to the British press like throwbacks (although I’d be interested to know where the British press earned its morality).

  • Accountant

    Why do we always seem to be seeking masters ?

    I thought we were supposed to be devolving and taking back control ?

    We need some Ulster/NI confidence in ourselves.

  • grumpy oul man

    Sorry mate you see everybody knows about SFs past but the DUP/UDAs past and present is coming as a nasty surprise to the British.
    Add to this the fact that SF doesn’t go round pretending it particular brand of hate is British culture.
    so we all know what they have said about SF but still SF have friends in labor and while the British have little sympathy with republican violence (or unionist violence)many have sympathy for the republican cause, very few would want to be associated in any way with the DUP.
    “Even SDLP and overall ongoing Catholic social conservatism highlighted in NI Life & Times survey would leave us all as looking to the British press like throwbacks”
    which is one of the reasons that the SDLP done badly at the pole’s .
    Catholics are just not as socially conservative as the SDLP,
    Its not just the British press who find unionism repugnant but just about anybody who isn’t in UKIP or the NF.
    If the people on Britain got a vote in a UI referendum it would be a walkover, your pay packet would be in Euros.
    How does it feel not to be wanted by those you claim loyalty to!

  • Accountant

    Your skin deep analysis is only marginally more sophisticated than the British press’ understanding of NI in general and DUP in particular.

  • grumpy oul man

    Again my analysis is shared by a lot of British polticians (from all parties) with both knowledge and experience of NI.
    Many of these polticians have sat across the table from the DUP so have more than a “skin deep” knowledge of them.
    The simple fact is that most people living on Britain look upon the DUP in horror.
    And of course the press is looking at the DUP very closely, this is what happens when you suddenly get a say in goverment.
    As i said before i look forward to the reaction in Britain when we approach the 12th.
    Can you imagine what they will make of the bonfires and paramilitary bands.
    It will be most enteraining watching Nigel or Gregory explaining that lot away as Culture or religion.
    And believe me the press are going to here in force.
    Can you imagine if they find a child with KAT face painted on her, as happened last year.
    How do you think the tradational decor of the bonfires will go down.
    As i said before getting the popcorn in and a few mates round.

  • grumpy oul man

    So your soloution to a UI is to introduce the good people of the south to the DUP with the intention of provoking so much disgust that they dont want anything to do with us, most realistic plan i have heard from a unionist in a long time.
    Sort of the reverse of whats happening in Britain at the moment.

  • grumpy oul man

    yes your right in a ILA not understanding a irish speaker will be a criminal offence.
    And you will have to change your name to Seamus.
    This of course what happened in Scotland and Wales.

  • Accountant

    So, I was right – you and the Daily Mail are out for headlines at the expense of understanding the people.

    I hope you, who won’t be flying home on the 13th looking to make the next buck from a cheap misrepresentation, can engage with your fellow citizens.

    Too many mistakes being made here, in Brexit referendum and in Trumpland by people not listening or even making the slightest accommodation for differing views.

  • james

    So if a man goes into a public office and makes a request in Irish, and the employee (not being conversant in Irish – as almost nobody is) requires that he ask his question in English…. what happens? Call for a translator – paid out of the public purse.

    Just doesn’t make sense.

  • james

    “my wife is a protestant”


  • grumpy oul man

    Yes James really. A church going prebysterian from east belfast.
    Why is that extreme unionists are always surprised when they hear about mixed marriage.
    We share views about socail issues and she would probably be described as a small u unionist.
    She has a even lower opinion of the whole DUP/UDA orange culture than i have.and she is a fairly good Irish speaker, she and her sister attend class together.
    There’s more of them about than you think mate.
    I have a daughter who describes herself as a presbyfenian another a proud athiest.
    They both played camogie and attended the GB.
    We enjoy the diversity we get from mixing cultures.
    Tis a pity there are those who dont understand that this is possible.

  • grumpy oul man

    Your right it doesnt make sense.
    Which begs the question of why you would come up with such a unlikly scenario in the first place.
    It doent happen in the south, scotland, or Wales so why on earth would you think it would happen here.

  • grumpy oul man

    I am now a fellow traveller of the Daily
    So despite the fact that polticians from all parties and a lot of others are very concerned about the DUP having a voice in goverment, you chose to ignore all this and put it all down to a plot between me and the Daily Mail.
    Hers what to do,
    Put on a pair of sunglasses and open the door and step out into the sunlight.
    Now as your eyes get used to the bright light, Behold the real world its a wonderful place, enjoy.

  • james

    But… aren’t you always saying this part of the UK is ‘different’ to the other UK regions?

    Now you’re saying it’s just the same really….

  • grumpy oul man

    Oh dear james i just pointing out that the welsh and scots language acts dont insist on the crazy actions you suggest.
    You are either being deliberately ingenious, demonstrating a lack of knowledge of the subject or suffering from paranoia.
    I will let you decide.

  • assist

    They have a big influence atm obviously and allthough opposed to them generally I do agree with their more sensible austerity polices and stance on anti abortion. I’m sure their mindful that their majority over SF is now a wafer thin 1200 and they have to reach out to everyone .

    Still though I agree with Ciaras main point and both the main parties here have made there points now get on with it