Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

PM Urges Ulster's Leaders to Save Their Government

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

PM Urges Ulster's Leaders to Save Their Government

Article excerpt

David Young, Michael McHugh and Sam Lister Reporters THE Prime Minister has urged Northern Ireland's politicians to "go the extra mile" to save Stormont's crisis-hit powersharing government.

David Cameron said the Government stood ready to do what it could to resolve the political meltdown sparked by a murder linked to the IRA.

First Minister Peter Robinson and three of his four Democratic Unionist ministerial colleagues walked out of the coalition Executive in Belfast on Thursday, leaving a husk of an administration limping on.

Intensive political talks involving the Northern Ireland parties and the British and Irish governments are due to start on Monday in a bid to rescue power-sharing.

Mr Cameron described the crisis as an "extremely worrying situation".

The Prime Minister said: "We stand ready to help, including standing ready to help with getting rid of the paramilitary organisations and properly examining how they still exist, what they consist of and putting them out of commission in our country.

"I would appeal to the politicians to go the extra mile, the extra ten miles if they have to, to make these institutions work for people in Northern Ireland." Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said politicians had "six weeks" to save the Executive.

DUP Finance Minister Arlene Foster has been left in the Executive to act as what her party is describing as a "gatekeeper" to prevent controversial government decisions by the remaining nationalist and republican ministers.

As well as her current portfolio, she has assumed the post of acting First Minister.

The unionist walkout from the mandatory coalition came after the DUP failed to get the Assembly adjourned for a period to allow crisis talks to address the implications of the murder of Kevin McGuigan.

The political furore over the killing intensified on Wednesday when three senior republicans were arrested in connection with the murder. …

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