Northern Ireland

Kenny rules out power-sharing with Sinn Fein

Enda Kenny
Image caption Mr Kenny held talks with politicians at Stormont

The Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny has again said he would not share power with Sinn Fein because the IRA army council has not been stood down.

Mr Kenny is in NI for a series of meetings with business and political leaders including Gerry Adams.

Mr Adams has dismissed as "hugely offensive" the remarks by Mr Kenny.

The Sinn Fein president said his party would not consider sharing power with Fine Gael as nationalists did not trust them on the "national question".

He was speaking after a meeting with Mr Kenny in Belfast.

Mr Kenny told journalists that while he gave Sinn Fein "due credit" for how far they had travelled "no party required an army council in a time of peace".

Mr Kenny led a delegation which also met with Secretary of State Owen Paterson, First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

Meetings were also due to be held with other party leaders, including the justice minister David Ford.

Mr Kenny survived a vote of confidence in his leadership on Thursday.

The motion was forced after a series of poor opinion poll ratings led to frontbench colleagues withdrawing their support.

Earlier speaking ahead of his visit to Northern Ireland, Mr Kenny said it had been planned before the devolution of justice and policing to the Assembly.

"I'm meeting with all the leaders of the political parties to tell them that Fine Gael in government will continue to work in the interests of both communities, to foster continued good relationships, north and south.

"I also want to assure the Northern Ireland authorities of our support and co-operation, both in terms of vigilance with new threats from dissiddents and support, in respect of cross border economic developments and other issues, that are of mutual benefit to all our people."

The Fine Gael leader also spoke of his "relief" that the events of last week were behind him.

"In a way, I'm very glad it's over and dealt with. The Fine Gael party from now on can focus on what we have to do and that's face the future.

"Prepare our proposals for the challenges we face to remove the government."

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