Mr Coveney said he would highlight the particular issues facing Northern Ireland – in regard to the peace process and cross-border movement – when he met the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Luxembourg today.
Postponed from last week due to the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the speech had originally been billed as an attempt by the Chancellor to reassure business leaders that they would still have access to funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB) after Brexit.
During both meetings, the Irish prime minister made clear that he and his government would work in support of the Northern Ireland parties to reestablish the executive, and in pursuit of strong North-South relations.
“I will spare no effort to fulfil the [Irish] government’s duty as co-guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement”, Mr Coveney said.
After touring the wrecked and fire-blackened apartment block and ordering an inquiry, May returned to talks to try to seal a deal with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to secure the backing of their 10 lawmakers in parliament to help her pass laws and govern as Britain starts talks to leave the EU. “You don’t need border posts, you don’t need to stop people; of course you would back that up with the occasional physical checks if you felt that that was needed”, says the DUP Brexit spokesman, Sammy Wilson.
It comes amid growing pressure on Mrs May over her future as Prime Minister.
Northern Ireland’s political parties are reopening talks aimed at restoring devolution to the region.
On Friday, Ms Foster signalled her optimism that a deal to restore powersharing by a June 29 deadline could be done, adding that it “takes two to tango and we’re ready to dance”.
“That is why Sinn Fein stood the DUP leader down from her position last January”, he said.
The British and Irish governments were parties to the agreement, and Irish voters approved it in two 1998 referendums.
“As a UK Government we remain absolutely steadfast in our commitment to the Belfast Agreement, its successor agreements”. Afterwards she made a decision to appease the Europhobic wing of her party, the UK Independence Party, and the forces of populism by threatening to leave the European Union without negotiating a deal.
“The most right-wing and reactionary party in northern Ireland will be backed by the most right-wing and reactionary major party in Britain, directly the product of British imperialism’s history of intervention and domination in Ireland”, he commented, pointing out that the UDA and UVF paramilitaries had backed the DUP in this month’s General Election. “We are hopeful of getting a resolution to them as quickly as possible”, he said.