Friday, 19 January, 2018

British Northern Ireland Minister Leaves as PM May Braces for Gov't Shake-Up

Karen Bradley is on her first working day in NI Karen Bradley is on her first working day in NI
Steve Townsend | 13 January, 2018, 01:46

Karen Bradley is the new Northern Ireland Secretary, taking over from James Brokenshire following his decision to step down from the position on Monday.

In the cabinet reshuffle earlier this week, the former accountant moved from her former role as culture secretary.

Pictured Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Brokenshire MP and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney TD meeting this eveing in Iveagh House in Dublin.

In a letter to Prime Minister May, Mr. Brokenshire said an operation to remove a small lesion in his right lung meant he had to stand down. Tensions have been raised further after the DUP struck a power deal with May's ruling Conservatives after a general election in June, in which she lost her parliamentary majority. inn Fein argues that the deal gives the DUP unfair influence over British government policy in Northern Ireland, including over Brexit negotiations that will have major implications for Ireland's economy.

James Brokenshire is the MP for Old Bexley & Sidcup.

DUP leader Arlene Foster said that she looked forward to working with Bradley in the months to come.

The word is in keeping with a managerial style of politics which saw him act as an emissary of the prime minister, giving little away about his own views or priorities.

The trip will be the first time that she has set foot in Northern Ireland, either personally or professionally.

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Mr Coveney is now on a visit to the Middle East and will stop over in London on his way back to Ireland.

"It is fitting my first visit should be to Titanic Quarter, which reflects both Belfast and Northern Ireland's past and its future".

He said: "His unwavering commitment - in public and in private - over the previous year to securing the effective operation of the devolved powersharing institutions in Belfast has been hugely important".

Mrs Bradley replaced James Brokenshire, who quit his role as Northern Ireland secretary for health reasons.

Speaking today on RTÉ Six One News, Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said her party was "disappointed" and "frustrated" that no deal had yet been reached.

"This is clearly a hard time for not only James but for Cathy, his wife and his children".

Mr Brokenshire bore no responsibility for the breakdown between Stormont's two parties, but his response to the situation drew criticism. May, Mr. Brokenshire stated in part: "As you know, over recent weeks I have been undergoing a number of medical tests on my lungs". I send my best wishes to him and the entire Brokenshire family.

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